Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health

Bloomington native leads Minnesota’s COVID-19 response

A typical work day for Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health, begins when she gets to the office at 7 a.m. Since COVID-19 first appeared, her days have become a whirlwind of back-to-back meetings, emails and phone calls. Teams report the latest case counts and other key metrics, as well as updates related to schools, contact tracing and more. 

“The term ‘multitasking’ has taken on a whole new meaning during COVID-19,” Ehresmann said. 

Growing up in a tight-knit community on the east side of Bloomington, Ehresmann was active in Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girls. She credits her volunteer work with the Bloomington Heart Health Program with helping her get started in public health. Program staff and volunteers provided health education to Bloomington residents and then looked for changes at the community level, such as decreases in emergency room visits and heart attacks. 

When it comes to COVID-19, Ehresmann is quick to empathize with the pandemic fatigue that many people are feeling. 

“This has been a year like no other … I realize that we’re all kind of  at the end of our rope with the limitations responding to COVID has put on our lives,” she said.

At the same time, Ehresmann encourages individuals to keep thinking about the larger community. 

“Every case is like throwing a rock into a lake, and then there are the ripples that come from that toss. And so, you may be one case, but it’s that ripple effect, it’s the people you may expose, it’s the roles that you play.”