BEMIDJI -- In the past several days, the number of coronavirus cases actively monitored by Beltrami County Public Health went from two to 14.
Going into the holiday weekend, the county was following two cases of residents with the coronavirus, with all of the others diagnosed having made it past the two week isolation period. However, over the Fourth of July weekend, seven new cases were identified, with six belonging to a social group.
"Six of them are connected with a group of friends who've had social activities together," said Cynthia Borgen, director of Beltrami County Public Health. "On the weekend of June 27 and 28, they did socialize at a number of establishments in the community and then following that, a couple of them recognized that they had symptoms so they went in and were tested."
According to Borgen, eventually more of the group of about 12 people were tested and the number of confirmed cases went to six, with two others testing negative.
"In this group, although some are renting in town, some of them do have a permanent address out of town or out of state," Borgen said. "So, there's at least a couple of these that won't show up on our numbers with MDH."
Borgen said the seventh case, meanwhile, could have picked up the virus by traveling as they recently visited an area with significant spread.
Then, on Tuesday, five more cases were confirmed in the county, bringing the total monitored by the county to 14. Borgen said at least two are related to the previously mentioned group while the other three are unrelated.
"This group was very responsible in that once they identified a potential spread, they did a good job in staying quarantined and isolated," Borgen said. "We've been pleased to see that."
As of July 7, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, there have been 30 citizens with Beltrami County residencies who have been confirmed to have had the coronavirus. In nearby areas, Polk and Itasca Counties have had the most cases, with 82 and 64 respectively.
"I think this is where people need to be conscious about where they socialize," Borgen said.
In a recent Facebook post, Beltrami County Emergency Management encouraged residents to wear masks when in public and avoid enclosed spaces with groups of people where the virus can linger in the air for long periods of time. Additionally, the county is encouraging residents to get tested if they have cold or flu-like symptoms, to stay six feet away from others, to cough into your elbow or sleeve and to wash hands for at least 20 seconds.