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Public Health Division

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Take care and be prepared: A public safety message from Bloomington Public Health

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Published January 10, 2022
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Updated on January 11, 2022
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High levels of COVID-19 continue in the community. Minnesota’s hospitals are full, and we are seeing a rapid surge in infections as the highly contagious omicron variant spreads. Bloomington Public Health is asking everyone to “Take care and be prepared.” The next several weeks will be challenging with the fast spread of the omicron variant. We’re encouraging everyone to make a plan and be prepared for challenges related to work, school, child care, health care, and more.

What does it mean to take care and be prepared?

First, we want you to take care of yourself.

It's normal to be experiencing increased stress and anxiety right now. It is important to take steps to support both your own and your family's mental well-being. The Minnesota Department of Health has an overview of several resources that can help support your mental well-being during COVID-19.

If you are currently in crisis, get help immediately. You can do so by calling 911 or by calling or texting one of the below resource numbers:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Chat.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “MN” to 741741.
  • Minnesota Mobile Mental Health Crisis Line: Call **CRISIS (**274747). For landlines, see the directory for crisis phone numbers by county.
  • The Minnesota WarmLine, a tool that helps people before they reach a point of crisis and supports their mental health. Call 877-404-3190 or text “Support” to 85511 (Monday – Saturday, Noon to 10 p.m.) 

Consider taking part in lower-risk outdoor activities as you are able, for your well-being. In January and February, Bloomington’s Winter Fete offers fun activities for the whole family that allow you take a break from life’s stressors and many events are free. Protect yourself from COVID-19 by following public health guidance: get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask in indoor public spaces, get tested when needed, and stay home when you are sick. See Bloomington Public Health’s recent public safety message for full details.

Next, we are asking people to take care of each other.

Think about checking in on your neighbors to see how they are doing and if they need support. If you know someone who is ill with COVID-19, ask how you can help. Do they need help with meals, running errands, or something else? Stay home if you are sick to prevent spreading illness to others. Consider limiting your time in public spaces and minimizing in-person contact during the next few weeks while community spread is high. This helps limit your chances and other people’s chances of getting sick.

Finally, prepare as much as possible for the unexpected.

As more people become sick, businesses may experience staffing shortages, which affect us all. It is also a good idea to make a plan for your family if you become sick.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Make a back-up plan for child care.
  • Have extra food on hand or know where you can get extra food in an emergency.
  • Plan ahead for refills of any prescription medications.
  • Find out where you can get a COVID-19 test before you need it. Visit blm.mn/test.
  • If you or a loved one depend on a resource or service, think about a back-up plan if service disruptions occur.

While challenges persist, we are in a much different place than two years ago. We have learned so much about COVID-19 and we now have the tools to help us stay safe. Our community as a whole is highly vaccinated, which means strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization. Medications to treat COVID-19 are now available. We will get through this tough time; things will get better. Take care of yourself, so we can keep taking care of each other and our community.