The upward trend in positive COVID-19 cases continues in Minnesota. The state is consistently seeing more than 1,500 new cases a day over the past few weeks.

In Hubbard County, we are also seeing an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases. At the end of summer, we had 46 cases. At the time of this letter, we have more than 400 cases in our county.

Our county was somewhat late in the game with COVID cases, but unfortunately, now we have widespread community transmission. Hubbard County's last posted two-week positivity rate was at 14%. Any positivity rate over 5% is considered widespread community transmission and poor control of the virus. We are also now seeing cases in our long-term care facilities.

We understand that everyone has some degree of "COVID-fatigue” and we all want this pandemic to be over. Unfortunately, we still have a long winter ahead of us, especially with our current COVID status heading into cold and flu season.

As your local healthcare providers, we are very worried about the concerning numbers of available beds in our regional hospitals. ICU beds in our referring area have been consistently full or near full. This is concerning as we anticipate that with these increasing cases of COVID we will eventually have increasing hospitalizations and unfortunately deaths. We all know people or have loved ones who are at higher risk of getting seriously ill if they contract the virus. We all need to do our part to get the numbers under control to avoid overloading our healthcare resources. We want to be available to see you and help manage your diabetes and your asthma, to get you screened for breast cancer and colon cancer, to complete your sports physical and immunizations.

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The best way to get our numbers under control is by having all of us do our part by wearing a mask, washing our hands, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. It really helps to keep your social circles small.

Also, this year it is even more important than ever to get your flu shot to keep you healthy and decrease the overall burden of disease in our community.

If we can get the numbers under control, we can keep our schools open, our elder and vulnerable populations safe and we can minimize the burden on our healthcare systems – our clinics, nursing homes, hospitals. We are here for you – please do your part.

As your local healthcare providers, we implore you to follow the guidelines closely to stabilize these numbers. Personal responsibility and small sacrifices now will pay off later.