News Flash

Public Health

Posted on: May 20, 2020

COVID-19 Case Update


As of today, Rice County has had 295 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 5 months of age through 89 years of age, with a median age of 35.2   Eleven of those 295 lab confirmed cases, ranging in age from 31 years old to 80 years old, have required hospitalization.  Four of those 11 hospitalized cases have required ICU admission, and unfortunately Rice County has had two 2 COVID-19 related deaths. Rice County COVID-19 data is updated regularly on the Rice County COVID-19 web page: .  

Rice County currently has the highest incidence rate in southeast Minnesota, and has had a rapid rate increase in  the last two weeks, which appears somewhat artificially inflated related to earlier limited testing capacity.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) data indicates that the current incidence rate in Rice County is 453 per 100,000.  Seven other counties in Minnesota have a higher incidence rate, with the highest incidence rate in Nobles County at 6,534 per 100,000.

Rice County Public Health continues to work with multiple community partners and organizations on mitigation strategies, especially within our diverse populations. Health messaging has been widely disseminated in various languages throughout a number of community locations, including multiple businesses and apartment complexes, to help explain the importance of infection prevention measures and the importance of isolation and quarantine for those who are ill or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Community transmission is occurring throughout Minnesota. Anyone can contract this disease and pass it on to others; everybody needs to do their part to help protect others. For those individuals who have been told by their healthcare provider that they have COVID-19, or for those who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, it is critical that they remain in isolation or quarantine as advised, which may be up to 14 days, or sometimes longer.    

Rice County staff continue to work with local partners and MDH staff on case investigations, contact tracing, business outreach, and essential service requests for individuals in isolation or quarantine.    

A Rice County Public Health COVID-19 Helpline Number is available to answer COVID-19 related questions and to help connect residents to local resources during the pandemic. The helpline number is 507-384-6459.

Information about Rice County community resources can be found at:

More information on COVID-19 can be found on the MDH and CDC websites:

We all must work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19! 


Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director (507) 332-5914

Tracy Ackman-Shaw, Rice County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator (507)332-5921

Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator (507) 332-6100

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