Workers were followed, videotaped and threatened in confrontations across Minnesota, the state Department of Health said.
By Bryan Pietsch
A coronavirus survey in Minnesota was stopped after multiple cases of residents “intimidating and shouting racial and ethnic slurs” at public health workers who had been going door to door, the state Department of Health said.
In an episode in Eitzen, Minn., a city of 250 people about 170 miles southeast of Minneapolis along the border with Iowa, a team of workers was “surrounded by three men who refused to accept their identification as public health workers,” Dan Huff, an assistant commissioner at the Minnesota Health Department, said in a statement.
One of the men was armed and the men used “racial epithets” during the confrontation, he said.
“The workers felt that the intention of the men was to intimidate them,” Mr. Huff said.
He said there was a “series of troubling incidents across Minnesota,” including ones in which residents followed and videotaped workers and threatened to call the police on them.
Two workers usually were on each team, with no more than 15 teams in the field at a time, a department spokeswoman said.
The survey, a joint effort of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aimed to improve epidemiologists’ understanding of how the coronavirus was spreading in the state.
Cases have risen to record levels in the state, according to a New York Times database. The number of new cases per day reached its highest level in Minnesota on Sunday when the state reported 1,296 new cases.
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