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How the State is reacting and what will happen – Twin Cities

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Minnesota coronavirus cases are growing faster than ever, thanks to the highly contagious omicron variant — and will almost certainly get much worse.

“The numbers are going to get pretty high here. It’s going to be a challenging few weeks,” Governor Tim Walz said Tuesday during a visit to a Maplewood respite care site, staffed by the National Guard, where patients can recuperate. and make room at overcrowded hospitals.

Unfortunately, the state of Minnesota’s current outbreak was overshadowed this week after health officials noted they were working through another backlog of testing reports. This time, about 135,000 coronavirus tests were not correctly uploaded to the state database and need to be updated and changed on a daily basis.

However, Minnesota’s test positivity rate, which the state reported after a one-week delay to clean up the data, rose to 15.6%. That was the peak of the pandemic that lasted nearly two years.

The number of weekly cases per capita has also skyrocketed and is now close to 100 infections per 100,000 residents.

“It’s clear that we’re in that period of rapid acceleration,” Jan Malcolm, the state health commissioner, said Thursday at the opening of another new coronavirus testing facility. “There is a lot of COVID out there right now.”

Health officials now believe omicrons are the source of nine out of 10 new infections – what Malcolm called Friday’s “omicron tsunami”.

WHAT DIFFERENT ABOUT OMICRON

The worrying latest variant that is believed to spread three to four times faster than the delta strain has caused Minnesota’s fourth and longest increase in coronavirus cases. That increase began in the summer of 2021 and never really subsided before omicron took over in December.

Minnesota was one of the first states to identify cases of the new variant, discovering the infection on December 1 in a Minneapolis man who had just returned from New York City. In mid-December, the omicron strain was thought to be the source of most of the new infections here and across the country.

A big reason for the increased transmissibility of omicrons is its ability to evade vaccines. Vaccines still offer protection against severe illness and death, but breakout cases are on the rise.

In addition, childhood hospital admissions are increasing nationally during the new wave of omicrons. Some health officials attribute this to low immunization rates among children and the tendency of omicrons to strike the upper airways rather than the lower airways, which are narrower in children.

The new variant is also thought to be able to cause milder infections, especially in people who have been fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose. But the trend toward milder disease doesn’t mean omicrons aren’t dangerous.

“The hairs on my neck stand up when I hear people say: ‘Omicron is not a delta. It’s mild,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, founder and leader of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. “That is if you are fully vaccinated and boosted. It could be if you don’t. But odds are, you’re playing Russian roulette, and you might not be so lucky.”

HOW IS MINNESOTA FEEDBACK?

State and federal health officials continue to urge a layered approach to coronavirus mitigation.

It means:

  • Get tested often – if in contact with someone who has an infection and especially if you have symptoms.
  • Wear a mask in public places – medical masks are now recommended for use on cloth.
  • Social distancing in public places or when gathering with other households.
  • Isolate if exposed and isolate if infected according to the instructions of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Vaccinations and booster shots when eligible.

Some of that is easier to do now than others, given the growing demand, particularly for vaccines and testing, amid a rise in omicron cases. Walz acknowledged those difficulties earlier this week.

“The number of tests we’re rolling out is an all-time high,” the governor said Tuesday. “There will be some delays. We are making structural changes. … I ask Minnesotans to just have a little patience. ”

https://www.twincities.com/2022/01/09/omicron-covid-mn-how-state-responding-vaccines/ How the State is reacting and what will happen – Twin Cities

Yasmin Harisha

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