Ely has first publicly confirmed case of coronavirus

by Tom Coombe
Ely has its first publicly confirmed case of coronavirus.
The Ely DQ Grill and Chill closed temporarily for deep cleaning and all of its employees were tested Monday, after the owner of the Ely business was notified the night before that one of his employees was confirmed to have COVID-19.
The victim, who has not been identified, had not worked a shift since May 4 and is under self-quarantine and “on the mend” at home, owner Paul Ivancich said Tuesday.
Ivancich also confirmed that day that he and all 14 of his remaining employees tested negative for coronavirus.
After receiving word of the confirmed case, Ivancich notified all of his employees and tests were conducted with the cooperation of Essentia Health and Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
Hospital officials indicated that EBCH “assisted in testing fifteen asymptomatic employees of the Ely DQ Grill and Chill following a positive COVID-19 test result from one of their employees. To reduce the hardship on families and eliminate the need to travel for testing, EBCH was able to quickly formulate a plan to collect the samples safely and confidentially at our facility and send them out for analysis. ”
EBCH does not currently have an established COVID testing clinic, but in a statement released Tuesday officials said “it was vital for us to meet the needs of the community during this isolated incident.”
According to Ivancich, the employee with coronavirus had traveled outside the community prior to testing positive.
The DQ Grill and Chill was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for cleaning but reopened Thursday.
“We are closing to deep clean out of an abundance of caution to protect our community,” said Ivancich. “Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our employees and guests and we are following Centers for Disease Control and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.”
The DQ Grill and Chill has been among several Ely dining establishments open for drive-through and take-out service during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ivancich said that all employees have been required to wear gloves and face coverings, with gloves changed every half-hour and hands being washed on an hourly basis.
Through Tuesday, Minnesota had 12,494 coronavirus infections and 614 deaths, with 501 of the deaths reported among residents of nursing homes and other congregate care facilities.
Most patients with COVID-19 don’t need to be hospitalized, and the illness usually causes mild or moderate sickness, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Those at greatest risk from COVID-19 include: those age 65 and older; residents of long-term care facilities; and those with underlying medical conditions. The medical conditions range from lung disease, serious heart conditions and cancer to severe obesity, diabetes and kidney patients who need dialysis.