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Minnesota health officials urge preparation for coronavirus

Officials urged having extra supplies so an infected person wouldn't have to go out and risk infecting others.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota health officials are encouraging people to be prepared for the potential arrival of coronavirus in the state.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann emphasized there are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Minnesota, but that could change.

"It's very likely that COVID-19 could effect our daily lives as Minnesotans," Ehresmann said.

Health officials are encouraging Minnesotans to be stocked up on supplies; MDH said the goal would be to have extra supplies on hand in case of an illness, so that an infected person wouldn't have to leave home to go to a store and risk infecting others.

Ehresmann also recommended common illness prevention techniques, including staying home if you're sick; washing hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds; and covering coughs with the crook of the arm.

"Those are all simple things that we can all do, but that will make a big difference in reducing transmission," Ehresmann said.

The state does have a plan in place if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus in the state, which would involve keeping an infected person isolated. There could also be a quarantine situation; for example, schools could be closed if there was a student infected.

"The tools that we have or the tools that we would use would depend on the unique aspect of the case," Ehresmann said. "So, in other words, if we have a case in a school setting then we'll be looking at what the appropriate actions may be."

Ehresmann said there is currently no plan for a special facility to be used in a quarantine situation.

RELATED: Doctors offer tips on preparing your home for the potential spread of the coronavirus

The state is posting additional, updated information on the status of coronavirus in Minnesota, and providing information for travelers, schools, and health professionals on its website.

RELATED: CDC: Prepare for coronavirus to spread in U.S.

For complete coverage on the facts and developments surrounding the coronavirus, visit kare11.com/coronavirus.

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