Mayor of Eitzen disputes MDH claims that COVID-19 team was called racial slurs, confronted by armed man

EITZEN, Minn. (WKBT)– The mayor of Eitzen firmly denies anyone in the city called CDC team members racial slurs or confronted them with a gun.  During the latest COVID-19 press briefing, the Department of Health described the alleged incident that happened on Sept. 15.

Teams were going to randomly selected households to better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. They were conducting swab and antibody testing in 180 preselected sites around the state, according to the agency.

A team in Eitzen was allegedly confronted by community members and two cars boxed in their vehicle. One person had a holstered gun, which officials felt was meant to intimidate and scare them.

Mayor Jeffrey Adamson said in a statement that the city in no way supports racism or violence and they are shocked by the accusations. Adamson said officials did meet with the workers after a concerned citizen notified them of an unmarked vehicle with Califonia license plates. The people were going door to door claiming to be conducting COVID-19 surveys and tests.

However, Adamson says the city was not notified prior to the team’s arrival, so they felt there was a need to follow up on the situation.

“Two vehicles driven by the city official and residents were parked on either side of the COVID-19 team’s vehicle, but it was never blocked. The city official asked the COVID-19 team for identification, which was presented,” said Mayor Adamson, in a statement.

The Houston County Sheriff’s Office was contacted, which verified the team and its work. The team was then left to continue conducting its research within the city.

“We would like to make it clear there was never a gun or any weapon present and no threats or aggressive behavior occurred during the interaction between the city members and the COVID-19 team. We can only assume that the team misinterpreted a large fire department communication radio in a holster for a firearm,” the statement said.

Adamson told News 8 Now that the city plans to contact the Minnesota Department of Health officials to discuss the alleged incident.

The full statement can be read here.