The Rice County Public Health Department issued the following news release concerning the county's first confirmed death from COVID-19.  In keeping with their policy details about the case and the identity of the person was not made.

Rice County Public Health received confirmation from the Minnesota Department of Health of the first death of a Rice County resident due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

“We are saddened to hear of our first COVID-19 death in Rice County. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this especially difficult time to lose a loved one,” says Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director.

As of today, Rice County has had 6 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19, ranging in age from 24 years of age to 89 years of age.  Rice County COVID-19 data is updated regularly on the Rice County COVID-19 web page:     https://www.co.rice.mn.us/494/Current-SituationPress-Releases

Minnesota has had 2,071 lab confirmed cases with approximately 43,053 tests completed.  1,066 of the lab confirmed cases no longer need isolation. 518 of the cases have required hospitalization and there have been 111 deaths.

This death underscores the importance of protecting Rice County’s vulnerable population during this pandemic. Anyone can contract this disease and pass it on to others; everybody needs to be taking steps to protect the community, including following the Governor’s Stay At Home order, and social distancing of 6 feet.

Rice County staff continue to work with Minnesota Department of Health epidemiology staff as they complete all case investigations, as well as local partners to support our community during this pandemic and to help slow the spread.

As a reminder, Rice County has established a personal protective equipment/homemade face mask community donation program. Donations received will be distributed to agencies throughout Rice County who are in need. More information about how to donate can be found at https://www.co.rice.mn.us/499/PPE-Donation-Request.

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

More information on COVID-19 and recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

Additional information about COVID-19 can be found on the CDC website:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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