As we move into fall, COVID-19 positive cases are on the uptick in Minnesota and around the country. At Riverwood Healthcare Center, testing of those with symptoms has increased but the rate of serious illness remains very low in Aitkin County, according to Dr. David Taylor in an interview on KKIN Radio on Sept. 30.
“Although the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for Aitkin County is relatively low in the 90’s, we know the actual number of cases is likely much higher due to low testing earlier in the year with a lack of test supplies,” Taylor said. “The good news is that we’re not seeing a surge in positive results locally, and hospitalizations statewide have remained fairly low with plenty of capacity to treat patients who are seriously ill.”
The Minnesota statewide mask mandate remains in effect for indoor public spaces and outdoors as well when social distancing is not possible.
“The mask mandate is slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Taylor added. “It’s one of the only things we can do to prevent the virus from spreading person to person. It’s important to make this personal sacrifice to help our community and to protect the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.”
With flu season approaching, it’s important to get a flu shot this fall. Riverwood is offering public flu clinics in Aitkin, Garrison and McGregor in October. For an appointment, call (888) 303-4550. See the posted dates, times and locations at www.riverwoodhealthcare.org by clicking on NEWS & EVENTS.
“A flu shot may not prevent influenza entirely, but it can reduce the severity of illness and the length of time you are sick,” Taylor said. “While the number for children getting COVID-19 is very low, they are very susceptible to getting the flu so it’s important to get them vaccinated.”
The cost of COVID-19 testing should not be an obstacle to getting tested when you have symptoms or suspect you have been exposed to the virus. For those who have health insurance coverage, most of the tests will be covered without any copay or deductible due from the patient, as long as they have an order from a provider. If a person is uninsured and has an order from a provider for a test, federal funding covers the cost of the COVID-19 test. A provider order for a test can be given without a Riverwood clinic visit.
Any Riverwood patient with concerns about inability to pay for COVID-19-related care may contact Riverwood’s financial counselor at (218) 927-8284.
Taylor added: “Unfortunately, we can’t go back to normal living yet. We would all be safer if everyone wore masks. It’s still important to visit friends and family safely, avoiding large gatherings, socially distancing and wearing your mask.”
For information on COVID-19 testing, call the Riverwood Coronavirus Helpline at 844-428-1323, Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm.