St Paul (KROC AM News) - The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed Minnesota’s first presumptive case of novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The case is an older adult resident of Ramsey County who recently traveled on a cruise ship with a known COVID-19 case. The patient began to develop symptoms on Feb. 25 and sought health care yesterday. Samples were collected from the person and sent to the MDH Public Health Laboratory for testing. The test was found positive Friday. MDH is awaiting confirmatory testing from CDC, but health officials consider the presumptive results actionable.

The patient is currently in isolation at home and is recovering. MDH is working in partnership with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health to provide essential services and support to the patient. MDH is working to identify and contact all those who may have come in contact with the infected person. These people will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“The State of Minnesota has been working around the clock to prepare for this and I am confident that our Department of Health is up to the challenge,” Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said. “Our Administration is collaborating across state agencies and remains in close contact with both federal and local partners as we monitor developments with this outbreak. Our state is fortunate to have a strong public health sector and world-class health care providers who are working hard to keep Minnesotans safe and healthy.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the appearance of the virus in Minnesota has been expected. Now is the time to remember that we all have the ability to help slow the spread of the illness and protect our fellow Minnesotans.

“State and local public health officials are working hard to slow the spread of this virus and protect Minnesotans, but based on how the outbreak has developed elsewhere we need to be prepared for some level of community spread,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “It is critical that all of us do our part to slow the spread of this virus by covering coughs, washing hands, and staying home when sick with cold or flu-like symptoms. We also need to prepare for community mitigation measures like telework arrangements and temporary school closures should they become necessary.”

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