Local officials say they have no plans to impose further lockdowns in the face of the pandemic and the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in Douglas County.
While the number of new positive cases has more than doubled since the beginning of the month in Douglas County, the 14-day infection rate per 10,000 people is lower here than the other nine counties that make up the Northwest Regional Planning District. Only Washburn County has a lower overall rate of infection.
“We’re not seeing such a big surge that we have to take drastic measures,” Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said.
As of Saturday, Nov. 14, Douglas County had 1,250 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic in March; currently 10 people are hospitalized, the most at one time since the start of the pandemic, according to the county dashboard updated Saturday.
“The problem the county is worried about is we’re wearing out our staff,” Liebaert said. “I don’t know how we’re going to sustain this for another year.”
The county is in the process of hiring a full-time staff member to help with contact tracing, said county administrator Ann Doucette.
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The county is currently not looking at additional restrictions and limitations on activities or businesses, Doucette said. County health officials are working with numerous businesses to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures are in place.
“Of course, the county strongly encourages limiting social gatherings,” Doucette said.
Mayor Jim Paine said he’s heard a source of recent infections is small gatherings with family or friends rather than running into strangers in businesses
In the last seven days, an additional 272 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Douglas County, including its highest single-day total of 79 on Friday.
Paine said there is no indication from county public health officials that changes are warranted in Superior, but he does have concerns that Minnesota’s business curfews could drive a lot of business to Superior.
“We were all prepared to enforce occupancy restrictions, but of course that really didn’t last very long,” Paine said of state-imposed restrictions that were overturned by the courts. “I would’ve been happy to enforce that, but it’s really going to be a problem here after 10 p.m.”