Not out of the woods yet: Health experts see increase in COVID cases and vaccinations

Health experts see a rise in COVID cases and vaccinations in Minnesota counties.
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 11:40 PM CDT
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SAINT LOUIS COUNTY, MN (KBJR) -- Despite an overall vaccination rate of 72%, Saint Louis County is seeing an uptick in covid cases.

“We have crept up a little bit over the last couple of weeks, from about 88 cases averaging on the 7-day average, to just over 100 cases per day,” said Amy Westbrook, Saint Louis County Public Health Division Director.

Health experts say many factors can affect disease transmission. In some cases, it can be people’s behavior.

“It’s getting colder so people are probably going inside more,” said Westbrook.

It can also be the behavior of the virus.

“The delta variant really is much more transmissible than the variant we were originally seeing with the pandemic,” said Westbrook.

Experts say there is some level of decreasing immunity among the vaccinated.

“As we are further away from people being fully vaccinated with those two doses, or in the case of the Johnson and Johnson the one dose, waning immunity is a real thing. We are seeing more breakthrough cases,” said Westbrook.

To the west, Itasca County has a much lower vaccination rate at 54% and that could be contributing to an especially alarming trend.

“At this time last year, we had 18 total deaths from Covid-19 between March and November, the entire pandemic period. This year we’ve had 18 deaths in the last six weeks alone,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health Division Manager.

The county is also seeing an increase in cases, with an average of 90 new infections per day.

The numbers come with a plea.

“Don’t be the person who is taken from your family. Please get vaccinated,” said Chandler.

“We do talk a lot about vaccination, and rightly so, because that’s our best ticket out of this pandemic,” said Westbrook.

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