ST. CLOUD -- Now that we have our first confirmed case of coronavirus in Stearns County, local officials are urging you to stay calm.

During a news conference Thursday CentraCare Dr. Kim Tjaden says this is not a time for panic.

This is what we've planned for, so there's no need to rush out and buy all the toilet paper or all the hand sanitizer at Target.  Go about your business, be cautious, be careful, we have to respect this virus, but we are ready for it.

The first person with COVID-19 in Stearns county is described as a St. Cloud area resident in their 60s who was recently on a cruise to the Caribbean. They are recovering at home.

Minnesota now has nine confirmed cases (as of Friday morning).

Local health officials are continuing to learn more every day about the coronavirus. CentraCare Doctor George Morris says COVID-19 is still relatively new to the medical experts because it just went from animals to humans in December in China.

He says they've found a wide range in the level of illness for infected people.

It can affect anything from a mild cold with a cough, fever, respiratory, body aches and fatigue to anything life-threatening and deaths.  The death rate has been estimated at that two to four percent rate in China, Italy and Iran.  We're trying to figure out what that means for us here in the United States.

Morris says our healthcare system is more advanced. He says CentraCare teams are meeting daily to talk about caring for people who are diagnosed with coronavirus.

Stearns County Public Health Director Renee Frauendienst says they have four levels of response:

#1 -- Containment
#2 -- Community Mitigation
#3 -- Pandemic Management
#4 -- Demobilization

She says they are in the process of moving from the containment stage to the community mitigation stage.

He also stresses you continue to take precautions like washing your hands, use hand sanitizer, and stay home if you're sick.

He also reminded us that influenza is still a legitimate concern.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app