PLAINVIEW — A claim that an increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases near Plainview can be attributed to a local food-processing facility have no basis in fact, according to the Wabasha County administrator.

Brian Buhmann, the county administrator, said the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases from 33 about two weeks ago to 69 as of Tuesday is not connected to one location or single event.

Buhmann said any migrant workers at Lakeside Foods in Plainview have been in the Plainview area since May or June, so to suggest their migration brought the virus from another place does not take into account the roughly two-week incubation period of the virus.

Rather, the increase seems to be related to more people gathering for picnics, backyard parties and other seemingly harmless summertime events.

"We’ve just come off our Fourth of July weekend a couple of weeks ago," Buhmann said. "That could have some contributing effects right now."

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Buhmann pointed to Minnesota Department of Health information that showed the majority of new cases are among younger adults.

On Friday, Wabasha County Director of Public Health Tammy Fiedler released a statement that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county had more than doubled over the past couple of months, much of that within the past few weeks and centered around Plainview addresses.

Fiedler said individuals in Wabasha County should avoid gatherings of friends or extended family where the virus might be spread, and monitor themselves for symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, headache, body or muscle aches, fatigue, vomiting, or a new loss of taste and/or smell. Anyone with symptoms should arrange a test through Mayo Clinic (507-293-9525), St. Elizabeth's Community Clinic in Wabasha (651-565-4531) or Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester (507-292-7266).

Wabasha County is working to arrange for a drive-thru testing site, Fiedler said, and anyone looking for updates on that should watch the county's Facebook page or the county public health website at www.co.wabasha.mn.us/departments/public_health/index.php.

As for where these new cases have originated, Buhmann said "there are too many different ingredients that have caused this uptick."