The Cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks would like to provide an update on the response to the COVID-19 virus.

At this time, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Grand Forks or East Grand Forks.  Local Public Health in both Grand Forks and Polk Counties are working with their state departments of health on monitoring, screening, and testing of potential cases in the area.  Grand Forks Public Health, Altru Health System and other local agencies have been working on preparedness measures for COVID-19 since the middle of January.

“We have started down a path of preparing our community and region for actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Grand Forks Mayor Michael R. Brown said.  “I applaud the work of our local health officials, along with our state and federal partners who are working diligently to make sure our community can stay as healthy as possible.”

“It cannot be emphasized enough that proper hand washing and personal preparedness are very important at this time.”  East Grand Forks Mayor Steve Gander said.  “Now is the time to prepare, not panic.  If you are sick, stay home.  If you feel the need to seek medical attention, call your health provider first.”

Altru Health System has set up a hotline to answer questions about COVID-19 at 701-780-6358.  This number will be answered by a nurse who will have a physician available if needed.

Calling ahead, instead of just showing up to the hospital, helps alleviate the pressure on our local health care system.

Local Public Health is also working with our local school districts on communications with students, employees, and parents as well as protocols on procedures school districts may need to follow in the future.

Keeping schools open is vital to maintaining our workforce but the safety of our students is of upmost importance.  Communications between school and public health officials will continue on a regular basis.

When it comes to public gatherings, the City of Grand Forks will be following the recommendations from the ND Department of Health.  Their recommendations are:

Low Risk -Threshold 1 (TH1): Unmitigated or uncontained community transmission is occurring elsewhere but there may not be evidence of significant community transmission in North Dakota yet.

Recommendation: Authorities should consider initiating minimally restrictive, or burdensome, but effective mitigation measures. Additionally, authorities should consider canceling or postponing events where a substantive number of attendees are from high risk locations, or attendees are from high risk populations.

 Moderate risk – Threshold 2 (TH2): There is evidence that unmitigated or uncontained community transmission of the disease is occurring in at least one geographic jurisdiction within the state.

Recommendation: Authorities should consider canceling or rescheduling events if located within the area that has community transmission of the disease or if a large number of attendees are anticipated to come from these impacted areas. Consider alternative attendance options such as web-based, televised only or remote attendance.

 High Risk – Threshold 3 (TH3): Widespread community transmission of disease within North Dakota.

Recommendation: Authorities should cancel or postpone all events that involve the potential for disease transmission and cannot accommodate alternative attendance options.

For up to date information on COVID-19 conditions in our area visit www.grandforksgov.com/coronavirus

Also follow the Grand Forks Public Health Department on Facebook @gfpublichealth.