What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

COVID-19, also known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus that the World Health Organization has now declared Coronavirus a pandemic.

The first Covid-19 case in the United States was confirmed in January, and the first case in Minnesota was confirmed March 6. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provides a daily situation update

The first presumptive case of COVID-19 in St. Louis County was announced March 21.

COVID testing information:

If you think you should be tested, your first step should be to contact your medical provider. 

MDH guidelines on testing

If you do not have a medical provider or have other reasons for needing to be tested, there are several other testing options:

Free saliva tests at the DECC

Free community testing events in MN

What is St. Louis County's role in this?

Like health officials around the world, St. Louis County Public Health continues to closely monitor the situation and review information as it comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). We are also maintaining close communications with cities/townships, school districts, the medical community, and community service providers.

Our role is to help educate people by providing accurate information about the risk, signs or symptoms to watch for, and how best to protect yourself and your family.  Additionally, we are working with our Emergency Management team on preparations to best serve citizens in the event of a large scale outbreak in St. Louis County.


What can I do to keep myself or my family safe?

  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a mask
  • If you’re sick, stay home
  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer
  • Cover coughs and sneezes using a tissue or elbow
  • Avoid touching face and mouth
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces often using a regular household detergent and water. This includes countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles.
  • Additional recommendations from MDH

Who can I contact if I have additional questions?

For clinical questions about the COVID-19 virus, such as identifying symptoms or whether testing is needed:

Essentia Health 1-833-494-0836

St. Luke's 218-249-4200

For non-clinical questions, such as preventative steps to take or anything travel-related:

St. Louis County Public Health COVID-19 information phone line: 218-625-3600. Our Public Health team will answer and return calls Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health hotline: 

651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504