Cass County authorities are directing residents to go straight to the horse's mouth when looking for information on how to respond to growing COVID-19 cases.

"I would say for advice to people in Cass County, the best source of information is by far the Minnesota Department of Health and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)," said County Administrator Josh Stevenson. "That's where counties get our information from. That would be my advice for people on daily living. If you don't hear it from the Minnesota Department of Health or CDC, I'd question it. There's misinformation floating around."

Stevenson's own information regarding current infection case rates comes directly from the Minnesota Department of Health. His office receives reports regularly with information from the previous 14 days. That information is available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/stats/index.html#wcrmap1, though Stevenson warns that the data is being updated, corrected and altered regularly.

"There are public health people going through that to spot check it and make sure there aren't cases from Cass County, North Dakota, or things like that," Stevenson said. "Those rates are subject to change."

Currently, the Cass County case rate is 144.37 people testing positive per 10,000 people. The MDH website explains how the numbers are calculated. Among other things, they only count a person once, even if they have been confirmed positive on multiple tests.

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Stevenson had additional recommendations for health issues relating indirectly to COVID-19.

"Self care is really important right now," Stevenson said. "That includes both physical and mental health. Now is a great time to be intentional about self care by setting some realistic goals and doing your best to stick to them. You could find a partner to help you and they don't even need to be someone who lives in your town. It could be a friend from high school that lives in a different state."

Stevenson also suggested that residents be mindful of one another, especially those who don't have family in their homes.

"We do have a lot of older people in our community," Stevenson said. "There is nothing stopping you from calling, texting or sending an email to reach others."

He also recommended reaching out to nonprofits who interact with those populations for advice on how to help, including Bi County-Community Action Programs or Faith in Action for Cass County.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.