Sanford Bemidji admits first COVID-19 patient, county tracking at least five cases

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BEMIDJI -- Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota announced its first coronavirus case at the Bemidji Medical Center Monday.

"This Sunday, Sanford Bemidji admitted its first COVID-19 patient to the hospital," said Joy Johnson, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota vice president of operations in a statement. "Following the progression of this pandemic in other communities, we knew this was not a matter of if, but when, and have been preparing our staff and facilities since March to care for positive inpatients."

Johnson also said, "Due to HIPAA, we are limited in what details we can share with the community, but we can share that the patient knew he/she was positive and was able to share that prior to arrival at the hospital."

According to Johnson, with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC, the patient is under isolation and being cared for in a negative pressure room. These rooms prevent the air in the patient's room from circulating in the hospital. Johnson also said the nurses, providers and staff caring for the patient have been instructed in using and have been given appropriate PPE for safety.

In total, there are at least five active cases of coronavirus the Beltrami County Public Health department is monitoring. According to Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen, two of the cases are nearing the end of their two week isolation period, while the other three are being investigated.


"When we get a case, we're concerned with how it will impact us in Beltrami County, and we make sure they have the information they need to isolate," Borgen said. "Then, we talk about if there were any community exposures that may have happened, and we follow-up with the groups or individuals potentially exposed."

In total, the Minnesota Department of Health has recorded 16 cases in Beltrami County since the pandemic started in the state.

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