According to current local data, Itasca County is at an uncontrolled level of COVID-19 spread, due largely to formal and informal gatherings that were unsafe. As of Oct. 4, the county’s 14-day rate of COVID is 38.6 positive cases per 10,000 residents. As of Thursday morning, Oct. 8, total positive cases among Itasca County residents stand at 506, double the Sept. 12 number, 66 percent higher than on Sept. 21, and 45 more diagnosed since Monday, Oct. 5.

“If we want our schools to have any chance of staying open, if we want our neighbors to be able to work, we must immediately take a stand,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health department manager. “Do not host or attend gatherings where masks are not worn and a distance of at least six feet cannot be maintained. Wear your mask, stay away from crowds and keep your distance.

“If our schools are forced to move to full-time distance learning again because of this uncontrolled spread, that means they also must shut down things like sports. Whatever your motivation is—sports, schools, businesses, your elderly parent or grandparent, your friend with cancer, your job—please do your part.

“If you do nothing else, wear a mask when around other people and stand six feet from anyone who does not live in the same home as you. These small steps can make a world of difference and get our kids back in school.”

Itasca County has created a local dashboard with current local data. It can be found at: https://www.co.itasca.mn.us/798/COVID-19-Coronavirus-Information

Itasca residents with questions or concerns may leave them at the Itasca County COVID message line, with calls returned 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. The Itasca COVID line number is 218-327-6784.

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