REGIONAL – All fully vaccinated Minnesota adults can now receive COVID-19 booster shots, following an extension of eligibility announced by Governor Tim Walz on Friday.
Walz wasted no time in following up on Friday’s recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control that booster shots be available to anyone 18 years of age and older.
“Cases are increasing, community spread is high, and Minnesotans are moving indoors for the winter as the weather cools and the holidays approach,” Walz said. “Health officials and researchers agree that booster shots help increase protection against COVID-19. Now is the time for Minnesota adults to roll up their sleeves and get their booster shot on schedule. “
The CDC stopped short of saying that everyone 18 and over should be given a booster. The guidelines vary depending on the type of vaccine an individual has received. The recommendations are:
• If you are 50 years of age and over and have received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you should receive a booster at least six months after completing your initial two-dose series.
• If you are 18 years of age or older and have received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines AND live in a long-term care facility, you should be boosted at least six months after your first set of two-dose vaccinations.
• If you are 18 years of age and over and have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in one dose, you should be boosted at least two months after your initial dose.
• If you are between 18 and 50 years old and have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you may choose to be boosted, depending on your individual risks and benefits, at least six months after completing your initial two-dose series. .
Those looking for a booster do not need to have the same brand of vaccine that they initially took. Any of the three vaccines can be used for a booster injection.
“Boosters are an important part of maintaining high protection against COVID-19 in adults and helping alleviate some of the intense spread of COVID-19 that we are currently seeing, which is extremely important given our hospital capacity. restricted, ”the Minnesota Department of Health said. Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Minnesota data on groundbreaking COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people, which account for about 40% of new cases diagnosed each week, provides boosters to boost waning immunity.
With the number of Minnesotans with at least one vaccination approaching 3.6 million, health officials predicted that groundbreaking cases would increase in the overall share of new cases, but those fully vaccinated continue to be at much less risk of a disease. serious illness, hospitalization and death than unvaccinated people.
In the first week of October, the most recent period available for groundbreaking data, unvaccinated people were four times more likely to contract COVID-19, 14.7 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 18.1 times times more likely to die than fully vaccinated people who rupture.
Dozens of Minnesota hospitals had no beds available at the end of last week as the latest COVID-19 outbreak is taxing hospital capacity in ways not seen since the November / December 2020 outbreak.
Regionally, intensive care beds continue to be scarce, with only two available on Nov. 18 in northeast Minnesota, and six hospitals having none available. Across the northern two-thirds of the state, hospitals reported that only six intensive care beds were still available.
The shortage is affecting patient care here in the north of the country. Nichole Chiabotti, director of nursing at Cook Hospital, said it was difficult to find intensive care placements for patients who needed them.
“We are having more and more difficulty finding an intensive care placement statewide and as a result we often have to transfer our patients much further than usual,” Chiabotti said. “Sometimes it takes hours to find an available intensive care bed. If we find an intensive care bed, finding a suitable ambulance to bring the patient there is also a challenge right now. “
The pandemic has led to a scarcity of beds, but COVID patients only make up about 30 percent of people receiving ICU care. Seven in ten intensive care patients are there for other serious health issues, but the extra capacity that could have handled others like them has been used up by COVID patients. To make the problem worse, COVID patients are staying in intensive care longer. While the average length of an ICU stay before the pandemic was 3.8 days, according to the Society for Critical Care Medicine, a study found that COVID ICU patients had an average ICU stay of 13 to 14 days. An ICU COVID patient remaining for that average length of time could potentially prevent three to four non-COVID patients from getting the intensive care they need.
“Anyone in our area who is seriously ill or injured will be affected due to the lack of intensive care beds statewide,” Chiabotti said. “We don’t have intensive care beds at Cook. In the past, we have always been able to stabilize patients and send them to a higher level of care quite easily. This is no longer the case. We still have all the capabilities to stabilize our patients, however, bringing them quickly to a higher level of care is no longer a reality most of the time. We will always do our best to provide the care we can, but with limited staff and resources, we do not have the capacity to provide intensive care here. “
Fifty-one of Minnesota’s hospitals also reported on Nov. 18 that they had no vacancies of any kind, and hospitals predict that the space crisis will continue as the increase in hospitalizations is typically two behind. at three weeks compared to the increase in the number of cases.
The hospital situation in the Twin Cities reached the point last week that Governor Walz requested and received two medical teams from the US Department of Defense, 44 people in total, to provide assistance and relief to medics and to nurses at Hennepin County Medical Center and St Cloud Hospital. The state has previously used National Guard personnel to resolve staffing issues in nursing homes that have created a bottleneck in the transfer of COVID patients to long-term care facilities.
The numbers have been rising steadily in St. Louis County, and if the Mayo Clinic’s projections are any guide, residents will see more of the same. The Mayo Clinic model indicates that daily cases could increase by 20% until the first week of December.
On November 14, the seven-day case average for the county stood at 157.1, an increase of more than 50% since November 1. Bi-weekly case rate for northern St. Louis County remained high at 81.12, 31 points above the last trigger of the year for schools to serve all children through learning from a distance.
Ely had 32 new weekly cases in the Nov. 18 state report, by far the highest among the six zip codes monitored by the Timberjay. Tower has identified 12 new cases, while 11 cases have been reported for Cook. Embarrassment had nine, Orr had three, and Embarrassment had two.
Ely Schools continued to report new cases last week, with Superintendent Eric Erie reporting a total current case count of 21 on November 18. ISD 2142 stopped disclosing information on COVID cases in September. The North Woods school was on the state’s list of schools reporting cases, but may be ready to withdraw if it has an additional two weeks with fewer than five cases.