Pennington County and Thief River Falls officials held a news conference Monday afternoon in the Pennington County Government center. Board Chairman Darryl Tveitbakk, Mayor Brian Holmer and Emergency Manager Erik Beitel spoke during the meeting. Department heads from both the city and county had met previously to coordinate response and establish good communication. County Commissioner Tveitbakk emphatically stated that there have been no COVID-19 cases confirmed in Pennington County. He also said that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would be the standard for offering COVID-19 testing.
Collectively, the officials strongly admonished residents to observe recommendations from the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health and not rely on unknown social media sources. They also reinforced the practices of good hand washing, no hand shakes, 6 foot social distancing, disinfection of personal surroundings and avoiding crowds. If a clinic visit was necessary, the patients should call the clinic before arrival to make an appointment.
Pennington County and city of Thief River Falls employees could work from home if it was practical however many of the positions demand attendance on-site. Julie Sjostrand, Pennington County Social Services, said that if daycare numbers rose because of school closings, a variance may be granted to increase the numbers allowed at a daycare providers place of business
Kayla Jore, Pennington County Nursing, said that they have been working closely with Sanford Health to share information since COVID-19 first surfaced in China. Mayor Holmer also mentioned that the Depot building will now have only one entrance and will have a hand washing station as will other city buildings. This same group will maintain productive communication and gather again for a news conference when more information becomes available. They also will print a set of guidelines for release in the near future.
Thief River Falls Radio also spoke with Chief Deputy Seth Vettleson after the conference and he stated all there had been no problems in the jail as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.