UPDATE: Spokesperson says Brainerd client with COVID-19 at treatment facility for 2 weeks, showed no symptoms on arrival

Employees in close contact with the person who tested positive will be quarantined for 2 weeks.

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A client in a short-term recovery program at a Brainerd drugs and alcohol rehabilitation facility tested positive for COVID-19.

Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge reported it received notice Saturday, March 28, of the confirmed case in one client, who was sent to Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd that day for assessment, according to a news release from the organization. He has since been released to a family member and is being isolated at his home.

Mary Brown, vice president of marketing for the organization, said during a phone interview Monday the client arrived for treatment at the Brainerd facility about two weeks before and was not symptomatic at the time. Every client and staff member in the facilities are screened daily, Brown said, including temperature readings and evaluations for respiratory symptoms. The client with the positive test presented with symptoms known to be typical of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that emerged in late 2019.

Adult and Teen Challenge reported its nursing team and medical director have been in close in contact with the Minnesota Department of Health and it is following all guidelines and recommendations as provided by MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding how to handle a positive client in a congregate living setting. Based on MDH guidelines for what’s considered significant contact, Brown said a few employees at the Brainerd facility who cared for the positive individual are now quarantined in their homes for 14 days. The total number of employees and residents was unavailable Monday night.


As of Monday, Crow Wing County had no COVID-19 cases confirmed by MDH. The health department reports cases based upon the county of residence of the person who’s tested positive. All data is preliminary and may change as cases are investigated, the MDH states.

In keeping with MDH protocols the organization is temporarily suspending new intakes at its Brainerd facility while continuing its existing isolation and quarantine practices. In addition it is taking measures to ensure social distancing protocols are followed throughout its 11 Minnesota facilities, and offering telemedicine services to both residential and non-residential clients, the release stated.

“At MN Adult and Teen Challenge, we care deeply about our community and the health and well-being of our clients, staff members, also their families and our broader community,” stated Sam Anderson, center director, Brainerd campus, in the release. "The people we serve are here because they have a serious addiction and they need our help. We are taking all proactive safety measures while continuing to offer excellent care and treatment to support our clients as they seek freedom from addiction.”

Brown said for those who need the services provided by Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, the residential facility may still be the safest place for them.

“This is just an unprecedented time, generally and so anytime there's anything new, it makes people really worried,” she said. “The whole reason that they're in our facility is because they have a serious drug addiction and they need help. So we're doing everything we can to keep them safe. And I would say that there's, you know, even releasing them into another environment, they're not going to be more safe than where they are here because of all the protocols that we have in place for them.

“ … We really strongly believe that there's more danger for a lot of these folks to be out and potentially using drugs than getting the help that they need for that and being in our environment while we're trying to really keep them safeguarded.”

The organization stated it will continue to review all updates from local health authorities as well as from the World Health Organization and CDC, and will also continue to assess infection control and prevention procedures to ensure they are effective and consistent with the best practices as established by these organizations. For more information, contact .


Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge offers both a long-term, faith-based recovery program and a short-term licensed treatment program, allowing it to serve individuals with a broad spectrum of addiction issues.

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CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow on Twitter at .
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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