The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed Wednesday an Aitkin County resident has died from COVID-19 complications.
This is the first Aitkin County resident to die from the disease. The resident was in their 80’s, no other details are available. A total of 29 cases have been confirmed in the county as of Wednesday.
“Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family, friends and loved ones as we receive this heartbreaking news,” said Erin Melz, Aitkin County Public Health Supervisor. “Aitkin County Public Health and all Aitkin County employees extend our deepest sympathies during this difficult time.”
Melz said in a follow-up email that the person did not reside in a long-term care facility. She said the lack of details the county provides is out of a desire to protect individuals and their families.
"We are unable to provide additional information which, may, in some way be identifying," Melz explained.
She did say that the Minnesota Department of Health follows up every confirmed case with an investigation and, in some cases, contact tracing. The department then makes a decision on what further public notification needs to be made.
Melz added that Aitkin County has seen a rise in cases lately; however, is not seeing a spike or surge.
"I believe, most importantly, is the message of responsibility by each individual to take precautionary measures to help protect themselves, each other, our businesses and our schools," Melz said. "The recommendations virtually remain unchanged: stay home when you are sick, wash and sanitize hands frequently, cover your sneezes and coughs, avoid large crowds, social distance, wear a face covering, seek testing if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and follow isolation or quarantine recommendations if they have been given."
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, The Corner Club in Haypoint announced on Facebook that it was closing temporarily due to "confirmed cases of COVID." The post did not give details, and the Aitkin Independent Age is looking into the situation.