OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK: CDC labels St. Louis County COVID levels ‘low’

KBJR 6 News at 6pm
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS CO., MN (KBJR) -- Things are looking up for the COVID fight in the Northland.

St. Louis County is now classified as having low community transmission by the CDC, meaning cases and hospitalizations have dropped after last month’s big surge.

“Our test positivity rate was over 20% at some times. Things are much better right now. They are much better than they were,” said Dr. Andrew Thompson, Infectious Disease Physician at St. Luke’s.

The CDC recently updated how it measures COVID levels in a community, emphasizing hospital capacity than the number of cases.

This put St. Louis County at the lowest level.

“There are no waitlists to get into an ICU right now like there were two months ago or a month ago when healthcare is very scarce, and hospital beds were very scarce,” said Dr. Thompson.

St. Louis County surpassed 670 daily cases reported at the end of January. A pandemic record.

Since then, cases have fallen quickly, with the latest data reporting just 14.

A stark difference in just a few months.

Amy Westbrook with St. Louis County said there is not one thing that has caused the drop, but vaccines and built-up immunity could be playing a role.

“We had a lot of disease in our community, mostly mild, which was good, but hopefully we have a lot of immunity because of vaccine, but because of exposure too,” said Westbrook.

Both leaders agree it’s an optimistic sign of the summer ahead, but we always need to be prepared for what could come next.

“We need to be able to be ready to instate these measures that we know we can do,” said Dr. Thompson.

Looking across the Northland, most of the counties are in that low transmission level.

The exceptions are Lake, Koochiching, and Bayfield counties, which are medium.

Meanwhile, Iron and Gogebic counties remain high.

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