Minnesota health officials: Infected person had 'limited contact' with others

Minnesota health officials announced some "wonderful news" Saturday in an update on the state's first presumed coronavirus case, saying that the concern for spread is low.

According to officials, the infected person is a man older than 65 with underlying health concerns. The man was one of 26 Minnesotans who returned from the Grand Princess cruise on Feb. 21. He was one of two people who showed symptoms; the other tested negative. His symptoms were considered mild and included fever.

Officials said the healthcare providers followed all protocols, and therefore concern of spread is low. 

“They absolutely followed our recommendations," said Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Director for the Minnesota Department of Health. "They were not in any crowds, nothing like that. Obviously we’re addressing the issue of household contact. There are no co-workers, so there really is, from an epidemiological standpoint, it’s about as good as you could ask for.”

The cruise ship ontinued on for a second leg of the cruise, going to Hawaii and back to San Francisco. It’s currently quarantined outside of San Francisco. There are approximately 42 additional Minnesotans currently quarantined on the ship.

Officials said the number of tests they run each day is dependent on the number of samples sent in, so it varies.

If you are travelling domestically, unless you are in a high risk group, there are no reasons to cancel plans. If you are in a high risk group, then "consider carefully.” If you are travelling out of the country, it all depends on where you’re going. Monitor CDC recommendations before you travel.

The next update from the Minnesota Department of Health is set for Monday, pending any further developments.

MDH is reminding Minnesotans to take the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections: 

-Cover your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue, not your hand

-Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water

-Stay home when sick

-Stay informed by visiting the MDH and CDC websites often

The Minnesota Department of Health has established a coronavirus hotline for the public. The hotline is open until 8 p.m. Friday night, March 6 and again from 9 a.m. to 4:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.