Jan 14, 2022 | By: Emma Hudziak

Serious Concerns in Itasca County Due to COVID-19 Spiking Again

Even with more vaccinations and treatments in the area, health officials in Itasca County are concerned with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to a recent release from Itasca County Health and Human Services in Grand Rapids, COVID-19 vaccinations continue to slowly rise. Vaccines and tests are available in Itasca County, and new oral COVID-19 treatments are being offered as well. But they say that communities are still not immune to the infections spreading across the country.

There are new cases spiking and hospitals are full, with more deaths continuing to follow. Between January 7th and 13th, Itasca County has seen another 218 new COVID-19 infections, not including those identified through over-the-counter tests.

Sadly, Itasca County has identified five additional deaths attributed this week to COVID-19, bringing the pandemic death total to 123.

“Those of us in public health and health care dearly wish the Itasca story was better,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health division manager. “Please, do everything you can to stay healthy right now. COVID remains unpredictable, and we are seeing very sick Itasca residents of all ages. Vaccination remains our best hope. Testing also is very important, regardless of whether or not you are symptomatic. And, yes, wear a good mask when indoors with others outside of your home.”

“Grand Itasca’s hospital and intensive care unit continue to be full every day and we’re holding patients needing a higher level of care in our emergency department more often than not,” said Jon Pederson, vice president of operations for Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital. “Staffing is challenged by very high numbers of sick calls from employees, the highest numbers we’ve seen during the pandemic.“

Earlier this week, Grand Itasca has also extended the availability of booster doses of the vaccine to those 12 years of age and older who completed their primary vaccine series more than five months ago. They also offer third doses for those ages 5 to 11 who are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised.

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