Officials: Stearns Co. COVID-19 Patient Recently Returned from Caribbean Cruise
UNDATED -- A Stearns County resident who recently traveled to the Caribbean on a cruise has tested positive for COVID-19.
In a Thursday news conference at the Stearns County Administration Center, local officials and medical personnel confirmed the unnamed St. Cloud area resident with the virus is in their 60s.
The person returned from vacation on March 6 and became sick the next day, according to CentraCare's Dr. Kim Tjaden. They, along with another resident of the home, have been in quarantine since that time.
Because the patient presumably contracted the virus while traveling, this case of COVID-19 is considered a "travel-related illness." Officials say because the individual was not known to have been out in the community, there is no known St. Cloud area community spread at this time.
"We knew this day was coming," said Stearns County Administrator Mike Williams. "And we've been working diligently for months to prepare."
Officials stress not panicking and following best practices suggested by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, including frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizer. Those with colds or fevers are encouraged to stay home.
The infected individual is reportedly doing well.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday, nine people have tested positive for the virus in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey and Stearns counties.
A total of 316 people have been tested in Minnesota.