A press conference Monday, organized by Martin County Emergency Management director Abigail Nesbit, brought together community partners in the Fairmont area to discuss efforts regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and public safety.

Dr. Marie Morris, medical director for Mayo Clinic Health System in Fairmont spoke up.

“Our main takeaway is that residents should be prepared but not panic,” she said. “The number of cases is growing very rapidly, but to my knowledge, as of this moment, we don’t have any cases in Martin County.

“Please keep in mind that public health [services], the CDC and medical campuses are all working together on this. The medical campuses have to maintain privacy for our patients; we do rely on public health to be the one reporting the statistics.”

Richard Ash, CEO of UHD in Blue Earth, shared Morris’s assessment of the situation. Ash noted that UHD will be canceling some elective services.

“If you’re healthy, wellness visits need to wait,” he said. “If you don’t need elective surgeries, let’s not have them. We are also restricting visitation and unnecessary meetings.”

Martin and Faribault County Human Services executive director Chera Sevcik said her agency is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health.“The situation is rapidly evolving,” she said. “Just a couple of days ago, we did not have any cases in south-central Minnesota and now we have two. If there were to be a confirmed case in our county, the MDH would alert our staff at our agency.

“We are working closely with MDH to be ready to coordinate essential services for members of our community who may be put into isolation and quarantine. That means that we would be ensuring those individuals have adequate food and water, access to health care services, and other smaller necessities they need to be able to stay home and stay protected.

Sevcik suggests people utilize the Minnesota Department of Health website — www.health.state.mn.us — if they have concerns or questions.