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Willmar medical community pleads for help in stemming rise of COVID-19 in area

As COVID-19 cases rise in the area, Willmar's medical community is asking the public to take the coronavirus seriously and help prevent the increasing tide of new cases in every community in Kandiyohi County.

Dr. Ken Flowe, Carris Health co-Incident Commander and Emergency Room physician, addresses the COVID-19 situation with other local leaders and health officials in Kandiyohi County Wednesday during a press conference at Carris Health Lakeland Clinic in Willmar. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — More than 40% of the patients in Carris Health-Rice Memorial Hospital Wednesday were admitted because of complications of COVID-19.

It’s the highest percentage and the highest number of COVID-19 patients the hospital has had, Dr. Ken Flowe said at a news conference Wednesday morning. Flowe is an emergency physician and on the Carris Health incident command team overseeing the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Willmar medical community is seeking the community’s help in keeping the coronavirus pandemic under control in the area.

Cases began to rise about a month ago, and the county now has an average of 65 new cases per day over the past two weeks. In the spring, the average was 17 cases per day.

Currently, the county has 578 active cases. Deaths have risen, too.


The virus is spreading in every community in the county and in multiple settings.

The advice from the medical community: Wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth, wash hands, use social distancing, and, most of all, stay home on Thanksgiving and other holidays.

Holiday gatherings could contribute to the spread of COVID-19 into the winter. Someone without symptoms could spread the virus to people at a gathering who spread it to others, and the spread would lead to someone’s death.

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Dr. Fred Hund, center, a frontline worker at Carris Health – Rice Memorial Hospital, listens to health officials speak about the COVID-19 situation in Kandiyohi County Wednesday at Carris Health Lakeland Clinic in Willmar. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

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