Minnesota COVID-19 briefing: Health officials discuss healthy living to combat COVID-19, traveling for Labor Day weekend

During the state’s regular COVID-19 briefing Monday, state health officials spoke about healthy living to combat COVID-19 and the importance of using safety precautions during Labor Day weekend travel.

Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann said by making healthy living choices, Minnesotans can reduce the risks of underlying health conditions that have a higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness. Ehresmann pointed to type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

"We know underlying conditions are unfortunately common among Americans," Ehresmann said. "But the good news is we can reduce their impact by making some of the healthy living choices we’ve encouraged people to adopt for years as a strategy for fighting chronic disease."

She said those strategies include eating healthy and nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, receiving plenty of exercise and supporting mental health and well-being.

Summer and Labor Day weekend travel

With Labor Day approaching, Ehresmann and MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm also took time to remind Minnesotans to continue to use COVID-19 practices when traveling.

Ehresmann urged those who travel to wear masks and practice social distancing to protect the locals who live in destinations where Minnesotans may be traveling.

"We travel, many of us, to other locations in the state for recreation," Ehresmann said. "And we want to make sure while we’re enjoying all our state has to offer that we’re also respectful of the individuals who live in those locations."

Malcolm said those who travel out of state need to be mindful of what the disease’s situation may be in that state.

The commissioner also added that travelers that have visited higher risk areas should consider a self-quarantine.

Guidance for higher education

Ehresmann also took time to mention new COVID-19 guidance that has been released for colleges and universities.

The infectious disease expert said one of the most effective things college students can do is remain at home and avoid settings with a high risk of virus spread prior to returning to campus.

"Everyone will need to do their part to get fall semester off to a good start," Ehresmann said.

Ehresmann said MDH will continue to address COVID-19 and higher education in the coming weeks.