Following confirmed cases in Bayfield and Douglas counties in Wisconsin over the last couple days, St. Louis County has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 coronavirus in the county.

County officials say the individual is a woman in her late 60s whose infection is linked to domestic travel, and not the result of community spread. The woman is recovering at home. There was no specification as to what part of St. Louis County in which the woman lives.

St. Louis County's Public Health Division Director, Amy Westbrook, said in a news release “At this point, there has been no request for the county to provide any essential services. It is believed she has had no contact with anyone outside her family. Close contacts have been asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure date and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms."

"First and foremost, we want to extend our best wishes to this individual for a quick recovery," said Commissioner Mike Jugovich, St. Louis County Board Chair. "Second, while we understand this will raise the concern level for many of our citizens, we have been preparing for this for weeks. We encourage everyone to continue to follow the recommendations of medical experts on how best to protect themselves and contain the spread of this virus."

Those recommendations include:

  • Stay home if sick
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
  • Avoid touching mouth and face
  • Practice general good health behaviors, including staying hydrated and well-rested

In a majority of cases, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Anyone with clinical questions about the COVID-19 virus, such as identifying symptoms or whether testing is needed, can call Essentia Health at 1-833-494-0836; or St. Luke's at 218-249-4200. Non-clinical questions, such as preventative steps to take or anything travel-related, can be directed to the St. Louis County Public Health information line at 218-625-3600 or the Minnesota Department of Health at 651-201-3920.

While there are only three identified cases of COVID-19 currently in the Northland (St. Louis, Douglas, Bayfield counties), there are a total of 206 identified cases in Wisconsin and 138 cases in Minnesota as of the time of this post. There have been three deaths in Wisconsin from COVID-19 to date, and one in Minnesota.