Custer Health Reinforces Physical Distancing, Universal Health Precautions After Correction for Oliver County’s First COVID-19 Case

Custer Health continues to reinforce physical distancing measures and basic hygiene for all residents following the announcement of the first positive COVID-19 case in Oliver County.

This announcement comes after the Oliver County case was incorrectly reported on March 28, 2020, as residing in Mercer County. This Oliver County positive case is one of 109 total positive cases reported in North Dakota as of 10 a.m. Oliver County’s first reported positive COVID-19 case is a man in his 50s. A determination for how this individual contracted the disease is still under investigation.

Presently, Mercer County does not have any positive COVID-19 cases. However, residents are encouraged to consider making daily decisions based on the belief COVID-19 may already be in their communities, as Mercer County is bordered by five counties with confirmed cases.

“As more and more counties are confirming positive COVID-19 cases, we need to continue to do our part to slow the spread of this disease,” said Custer Health Administrator Erin Ourada. “This includes taking steps to ensure good hand hygiene, proper cough and sneeze etiquette, and following physical distancing guidelines.”

Every individual can incorporate steps into their lives to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap. In the absence of soap, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
  • Avoid touching your T-Zone (eyes, nose and mouth).
  • Practice physical distancing. Avoid social gatherings and groups of more than 10 people. Avoid eating and drinking in bars, restaurants and food courts. Use drive-through, pickup or delivery options when available.
  • Work from home when possible.
  • Stay home when you are sick. Call your healthcare provider if you develop fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. In the absence of a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay away from individuals who are sick. Limit close contact (about six feet) with others as much as possible.

“We do want everyone to make sure they are mindful of their mental health during this pandemic,” said Ourada. “Physical distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Instead it may mean taking steps to alter how you can be social. The important part is to not just shut yourself off from the world. We are all in this together.”

For ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Dakota Department of Health has established a COVID-19 Hotline to help answer questions. You can call (866) 207-2880 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Individuals who need medical advice should contact their health care provider. A COVID-19 survey has been established on the North Dakota Department of Health website at