Stories from around the U
COVID-19 and Curds
"Necessity is the mother of invention.” That sentiment came fully to life for cheesemaker Alise Sjostrom (B.S.’08) in March, when—in the first week of the COVID-19
quarantine—she found herself with 200 extra pounds of cheese curds. With
restaurants closing, her distributor losing orders, and her Brooten, Minnesota,
business, Redhead Creamery, needing cash, Sjostrom and her husband took to social media
to promote same-day deliveries of those delicious curds.
“And it completely exploded,” she says. “All day we kept accumulating orders. We left at 3:30
p.m. for the Twin Cities and didn’t get home until after midnight.” On that first trip they mostly
delivered directly to homes (“Boy, were we glad to have Google maps!”), but after fielding
repeated requests, they quickly established a set schedule of delivery runs—weekly to the Twin
Cities and monthly to places like Sioux Falls, Rochester, Fargo, and points in between.
"We had to react quickly, and we soon realized this might be the best way to keep our
business going,” Sjostrom says. Although Redhead Creamery also ships its products, the
deliveries proved more popular—both for the lower cost and the human touch. “It’s been a
way for our customers to connect with someone when they otherwise couldn’t,” she says.
Meeting mostly in parking lots, Sjostrom and family members—including her two older children—have fulfilled dozens of orders. The first things they ran out of, she says, were comfort
foods like creamy Havarti cheese and Sjostrom’s mother’s homemade apple pies.
“We’re grateful for the excitement and that it’s working so far,” says Sjostrom, who started
the business at her parents’ dairy farm in 2014. “Just when a lot of people have been bored
and stuck at home, it’s busy every day here.”
You can find more details at the Redhead Creamery Facebook page.
- Lynette Lamb
Professor Shares COVID-19 Care Advice
By now we’ve all been told that we
should quarantine at home with milder
cases of COVID-19, but what does that
mean in terms of self-care? We
asked Renee Crichlow, M.D.,
an assistant professor of
family medicine and community health, to share
How should you
quarantine if just one
person in the family is sick?
If you get sick, decrease your interaction
with others in the home. The best option:
stay in your own room and bath and wear
face masks when interacting with others.
Shared areas of the home should be
cleaned and disinfected regularly. If you
live in a smaller space, stay out of shared
areas until you have been fever-free
(without medicine) for more than 72 hours.
Should well family members
leave the home?
No, because it could spread the virus
beyond the family unit. If one family member becomes ill, consider all
members infected and act accordingly:
do not engage with people outside the
household for at least 7 to 10 days after
symptoms have resolved.
Should COVID-19 sufferers use
cold and cough medicines?
Mild to moderate COVID-19 can be treated
at home with over-the-counter cough and
cold medicines. Current recommendations suggest using acetaminophen
(Tylenol) rather than ibuprofen (Advil) for
treating COVID-19 fevers.
When should I go to the hospital?
Only if you have signs of serious illness
such as trouble breathing, persistent pain
or pressure in the chest, confusion and an
inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.
How safe are we here in Minnesota?
Minnesota has one of the finest healthcare systems in the country. If we all follow
recommendations for social distancing
and appropriate care, we can decrease
the rate of virus spread and increase the
ability of medical professionals to help
those most in need. Social distancing will
For the most recent CDC information on COVID-19, including an online “Self Checker” tool and tips for what to do if you or someone you care for is sick, go to cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Advice for Managing in Troubled Times
When workplaces and
schools started closing in
early spring and people were
asked to work and learn from
home, many families found
themselves caught off guard.
Accustomed to lives in which
family members spent their
days headed in different
directions, suddenly it was as if
everyone was living through a
blizzard that wouldn’t end. And
all that togetherness isn’t easy.
Luckily, the University of
Minnesota has experts, such as
Family Social Science Professor
William Doherty, who by midMarch was already giving talks
on this very subject. Following
are a few of his recommendations for coping, both during
quarantine and otherwise.
Create a routine. Families,
especially kids, need predictability. Go to bed and get up
at the same times each day,
schedule periods for work,
school, meals, relaxation, and
Reassure children. It’s
important to let younger kids
know that they aren’t likely to
become sick, and if they do, it
probably won’t be any worse
than colds and flus they’ve had
in the past. Reassure them that
their parents will be okay. As
for older kids, find out what
information they have and
correct any inaccuracies. Don’t
soft-pedal the risks, but don’t
be an alarmist either. Remind
them that you’re taking all recommended safety precautions.
Set goals. Read that novel
you’ve always meant to tackle,
listen to podcasts, organize
your photos or your spices.
Write down your goals and
check them off.
Connect with family and
friends. Stay in touch—especially with elders—through
phone calls, or video links
through FaceTime and Zoom.
Pay special attention to those
who live alone and are thus
Limit news consumption.
Check in with the latest news
once a day and then stop.
Use both buffering and active
coping methods. Buffering
coping methods, says
Doherty, involve actions such
as limiting news, eating well,
sleeping enough, meditating,
etc., whereas active coping
methods involve things like
helping a vulnerable neighbor
with shopping, contributing
money to food shelves, and
supporting local restaurants.
During this stressful time, says
Doherty, “Both kinds of coping
- Lynette Lamb
Coping with Missed Milestones
Prom. High school graduation. Semester
abroad. College graduation. First career jobs.
For teenagers and young adults, the COVID-19
crisis has meant the loss of many milestones.
We talked to Pauline Boss, an emeritus
professor in the Department of Family
Social Science, who first coined the concept
of ambiguous loss, which she explores in her
book, Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with
Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press).
She shared ways parents and caregivers can
help young people process their feelings
during this complicated time.
Be honest, but reassuring. Give explanations that provide validation for their
feelings and reassurance that we will get
through this together. She
such like “It will get better,
but not right away,” and “If
someone in our family gets sick,
we will figure it out and manage it.”
Do something. Boss recommends taking
on projects or activities that accomplish
something, whether that’s cleaning a room,
walking the dog, reading a book, going for
a daily jog, or texting a grandparent every
day, just to check in.
Take care of yourself. “We can say we are
afraid, but we should also share how we are
coping and taking care of ourselves,” says
Boss. Model good self-care for
your kids by doing activities
that lift your spirits during these
confusing times, whether it’s a
living room workout, Zoom party
with close friends, or a bout of baking.
Revere resilience. “Kids are stronger than
parents think,” says Boss. This can be a
time for kids to step up and discover how
adaptive they are and how they can cope
in an uncertain time full of real stresses.
“Resilience means you are stronger than
you were before,” says Boss. “Our young
people will be proud that they survived this
and have grown from it.”
- Elizabeth Foy Larsen