Winona County sees first COVID-19 death


WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed today, April 1, the first death in Winona County related to COVID-19.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to their family, friends and loved ones,” said Winona Mayor Mark Peterson. “The Winona City Council and all City of Winona employees extend our deepest sympathies and condolences during this difficult time.”

Winona County has 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 1. That number reflects extremely limited testing available locally and across the state and country, and is expected to grow.

The death has further reinforced the City of Winona’s ongoing work to keep residents informed, ensure all services remain operational and continue to plan for the virus’ spread in Winona.

“We care deeply about the health and safety of our residents, and remain committed to our preparation and planning,” said City Manager Steve Sarvi. “We are using every city resource and tool available to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

The city’s emergency management is working closely with Winona County and other partners on contingency plans to care for and house a large increase of sick residents in the coming months. Emergency departments have closed operations to the public and are using strict rotation schedules to avoid close contact in order to limit any potential spread or transmission. The city continues to actively communicate with residents about proper behavior and activities.

The city continues to urge residents to strictly follow Minnesota’s Stay Home MN order, staying at home unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave and limiting trips as much as possible. Residents are still able to visit their doctor, buy groceries and needed supplies, make deliveries to sick or homebound friends and family, and work if their employer has determined them to be essential. Other non-essential activities, including gathering in groups, are not allowed under the order.

Police officers are patrolling and monitoring public spaces. They will approach groups violating the order, remind them of the order, and ask them to comply. Residents who choose not to comply or continue to violate the order may be ticketed.

“You can take the right actions today to save Winona residents’ lives in the future,” Peterson said. “It’s up to all of us to work together to protect each other and our community.”

Residents must also continue to practice physical distancing, regular hand-washing, regularly disinfect and sanitize home surfaces, and other critical behaviors to limit COVID-19’s spread.

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