Olmsted County COVID-19 impact survey looks at key health issues

Commissioners will review results of 2021 survey during Wednesday committee meeting.

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More than half -- 51 percent -- of the Olmsted County residents surveyed earlier this year reported decreased communication with neighbors because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, 47.3 percent said communication with family and friends had declined.

Olmsted County commissioners on the Health, Housing and Human Services Committee will review the survey results Wednesday and discuss how the data can be used to support local recovery efforts.

RELATED: Olmsted County set to reopen buildings

The survey, which was modeled after the county Community Health Needs Assessment, included 737 randomly mailed questionnaires, as well as 860 that were administered based on convenience.


The most recent Community Health Needs Assessment identified financial stress, mental health and substance abuse as the top health issues or threats in the county. The recent survey looked at how those issues were changing with the pandemic.

Results sent to commissioners ahead of Wednesday’s meeting show 34 percent of respondents reported feeling financially stressed, an increase from the earlier study.

Medical bills and housing costs were the key source of stress.

Additionally, the survey shows that more residents are reporting poor mental health.

While approximately 75 percent reported being “cheerful” in 2015 and 2018 surveys, only 60 percent made the same claim this year, and people reporting being active dropped by more than 10 percentage points since 2018.

The survey results also point to the pandemic having a negative impact on substance abuse, with 17 percent of respondents reporting increased alcohol use and 19 percent reporting an increased substance use when the question also included tobacco and drugs.

County staff and commissioners will discuss the results at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The commissioners are expected to be in conference room 2 of the city-county Government Center, with some staff attending from remote locations through an online link available at .



Meetings scheduled to be held during the week of May 31 include:


• Park Board, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. Dial-in information for listening to the meeting live can be requested by emailing Video will be posted at following the meeting.

Olmsted County

• Administrative Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the government center. Information for connecting to the meeting is posted at .

• Physical Development Committee, 8 a.m. Tuesday in conference room 2 of the government center. Information for connecting to the meeting is posted at .

• Board of County Commissioners, 9 a.m. Tuesday in the board chambers of the government center. The meetings will livestream at .

• Health, Housing and Human Services Committee, 10 a.m. Wednesday in the board chambers of the government center. Information for online viewing is available at .


• Public Health Services Advisory Board, 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Information for online viewing is available at .

• Planning Advisory Commission, 7 p.m. Thursday in board chambers of the government center. The meeting will be livestreamed at .

Rochester Public Schools

• School Board, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom of the Edison Building, 615 Seventh St. SW. Meeting will livestream at .

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or
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