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Minnesota mayor disputes harassment of COVID-19 survey team

Associated Press logoAssociated Press 9/27/2020
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Testing kits are displayed on a table as medical workers test for COViD-19 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, one of 11 churches across the city as well as Nassau County and Westchester that has begun testing for the virus on May 13, 2020 in New York City. The tests are being administered by Northwell Health and are targeting low income and minority communities where there have been greater rates of infection and hospitalizations. Though New York case numbers have trended downward, a survey suggests that most new cases are being identified in people who self-describe as not working and social distancing at home, highlighting the risk of infection outside the workplace. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) © 2020 Getty Images NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13: Testing kits are displayed on a table as medical workers test for COViD-19 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, one of 11 churches across the city as well as Nassau County and Westchester that has begun testing for the virus on May 13, 2020 in New York City. The tests are being administered by Northwell Health and are targeting low income and minority communities where there have been greater rates of infection and hospitalizations. Though New York case numbers have trended downward, a survey suggests that most new cases are being identified in people who self-describe as not working and social distancing at home, highlighting the risk of infection outside the workplace. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The mayor of a southern Minnesota city is disputing state health department claims that a COVID-19 survey team was threatened there earlier this month.

State health officials on Friday reported cases of health workers being subjected to hostility — including racial slurs — in several Minnesota communities, as the teams surveyed households to collect data on how the virus is spreading. They were forced to end the survey early, officials said.

The mayor of Eitzen, one of the cities singled out, said Saturday that he doesn't believe the health department's account of the episodes and added that city leaders were never contacted about survey teams working in the community, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“Personally, I think they owe the city of Eitzen and its citizens an apology,” Mayor Jeff Adamson said, referring to the health department.

The health department said one survey team in Etizen was boxed in by two cars and threatened by three men, including one with a gun.

“The team felt the intent was clearly to intimidate and scare them,” said Stephanie Yendell, who supervised Minnesota’s role in the survey. “Unfortunately that wasn’t the only incident.”

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