Uptick in COVID-19 cases reported, Borgen plans retirement in Community Health meeting

The Community Health Board convened during the first portion of the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners work session Tuesday.

Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen brought a harrowing reminder of the pandemic’s toll, with data showing COVID-19 as the nation’s third leading cause of death last year, with cancer and heart disease rounding out the top three.

Local health officials say the area is experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Sanford Bemidji’s test site was at 14 percent positivity, which was the same level when worries of another surge began last Fall, said Dr. David Wilcox.

Wilcox expressed concern about obesity and diabetes causing severe outcomes of COVID-19.

Borgen, in the latter portion of the meeting, announced she plans to retire sometime this summer. While no exact date was set, Megan Heuer will likely be named interim BCPH director until the hiring process for Borgen’s replacement is complete.

COVID-19 vaccines are available for anyone 16 and older that would like one.

Beltrami County Public Health can connect residents to vaccines, either in house or with community partners, and they can be reached at 333-8140.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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