24 Dec President Cartu Jonathan Says – Vaccines arriving slower than hoped, Olmsted County health offici…
The two deaths, one person in their 70s and another in their 90s, brings the total fatalities from the virus in Olmsted to 17 for December and 52 since the start of the pandemic in March.
There were 555 active cases of COVID-19 in the county as of Tuesday, public health officials reported Wednesday.
Vaccinations are continuing for health care workers as part of the first phase of vaccinations.
That effort is going slower than was initially hoped when the first doses of the vaccine arrived last week, said Kari Etrheim, communications coordinator at Olmsted County Public Health.
“The vaccine is not coming fast enough to vaccinate all our medical personnel in as timely fashion as we would like,” she said. “It will take time.”
Physicians and health care workers who have direct contact with patients who have COVID-19, emergency room and urgent care staff, and long-term care staff members are included in the first of three tiers of people receiving the vaccine designated phase 1a by the Centers for Disease Control.
After the three tiers of phase 1a receive vaccinations, people ages 75 and older and frontline workers such as teachers, police officers, firefighters, grocery store workers and other essential workers will be given vaccines in phase 1b.
That likely won’t start until March or April, Etrheim said, which echoes estimates made by health officials at Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center last week.
Testing the virus in Olmsted County has fallen off over the past five weeks. Last week, 4,446 people tested for the virus, which is about half the number per week at the end of November.
That drop in testing has likely contributed to a drop in daily new cases.
As of Sunday, the rolling seven-day average of new cases was just under 77 new cases per day. That’s down from about 114 a month ago and 129 cases per day at the peak of the recent surge in cases.
The positivity rate from testing is at about 10%, as of Sunday.