Sanford Health of Bemidji Gives Update on Impact of Omicron Variant
With the omicron variant of COVID-19 recently causing a spike in cases in rural areas of Minnesota, Sanford Health officials in Bemidji say the case positivity rate in northern Minnesota is at 32.2% this week, an all-time high.
Omicron, like delta, is a variant of COVID-19. One thing that separates omicron from any other variants is that it is much more contagious and is spreading rapidly.
Dr. David Wilcox from Sanford Health says that the symptoms of omicron are pretty much the same as other variants of COVID-19. If anyone has already been vaccinated for the regular variant of COVID-19 or the delta variant, they can still get omicron if not fully vaccinated or boosted.
At Sanford Health right now, their hospitalization rate is still showing that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting the unvaccinated, with over 80% of patients currently hospitalized being unvaccinated. Wilcox states that boosting is very important when receiving vaccines.
Wilcox also adds that for people that are vaccinated and boosted, they have about an 85% chance of reducing the risk of hospitalization. If someone is only vaccinated and not boosted, the rate of protection goes down to 65%.
No Sanford Health patients that have been vaccinated or boosted are currently in intensive care or on a ventilator. Wilcox continues to encourage vaccinations and boosters for protection.