Home / US / Minnesota Covid-19 poll stopped after team members reported racist slurs, state officials say

Minnesota Covid-19 poll stopped after team members reported racist slurs, state officials say

“A door-to-door survey of Covid-19 testing was halted due to multiple incidents outside Minnesota of residents intimidating and shouting racial and ethnic slurs at the state and federal public health investigation team,” the The minnesota Department of Health (MDH) tweeted Friday.

Eitzen is located in southern Minnesota, near the Iowa border.

The CASPER (Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response) survey is “a voluntary in-person survey to understand the effect Covid-19 is having on communities in Minnesota,” the MDH website states.
“Many of the individual incidents may perhaps have been considered misunderstandings,”
; said Dan Huff, assistant commissioner of MDH’s Health Protection Bureau, to CNN’s WCCO affiliate. “But over the past week, a pattern emerged where CASPER teams that included black people reported more incidents than teams that didn’t include black people. Given the uncertainty of the situation and the impact the incidents have had on team members, CDC has decided to demobilize its staff on the ground. “
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Eitzen Mayor Jeff Adamson posted a lengthy rebuttal on his Facebook page on Friday night saying his city is “shocked by the allegations made in the news today, and saddened to hear our city being slandered.”

In a lengthy statement, Adamson said his city “does not support racism and violence in any way,” and said on Sept. 15 that “a concerned citizen” informed city officials when they saw a team of three. people in an out-of-state vehicle, knocking on doors “claiming to conduct a Covid-19 survey and tests.”

“In a very small town where everyone knows everyone, a group of unknown people with out-of-state license plates is unusual and for some residents it is cause for concern,” he said.

Adamson said the Houston County Sheriff’s Department came to assess the situation in the presence of city officials and two residents. The sheriff’s department confirmed that the team was part of MDH, he wrote.

Huff told WCCO that the investigation team was confronted by three men, one of whom was armed, and the team felt intimidated.

“We would like to clarify that there was never a gun or any weapon present, and no threats or aggressive behavior occurred during the interaction between the members of the city and the Covid-19 team,” Adamson said.

It is possible that the investigation team “misinterpreted a large fire department communications radio in a holster for a firearm,” Adamson said in his post.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department told CNN there was no one to speak on the matter and to try again on Monday.

The mayor’s statement did not address any other incidents that the health department referred to.

CNN Health contacted the CDC and received no response.

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