St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Expert Discusses COIVD-19 Severity, Holiday Concerns

Dr. Andrew Thompson is an Infectious Disease Physician at St. Luke's in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – Daily COVID-19 testing data released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows a steady rise in COVID-19 cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in recent weeks, and it’s prompting local health experts to speak out with a reminder for residents.

“The recent rise in COVID-19 cases is definitely causing concern,” said St. Luke’s Infectious Disease Dr. Andrew Thompson.

Thompson says in the past few weeks, he has noticed a significant trend in the increase in cases both in Minnesota, and surrounding states such as Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

He says part of the concern is about the health of our community, but also, data shows after we start to see cases increase in the community, we tend to see an increase in patients who might require hospitalization.

“We have seen a gradual increase in the number of our hospitalized patients in the past few weeks with COVID,” said Thompson.

Unlike the common cold or seasonal flu, patients with COVID-19 are experiencing varied symptoms.

Thompson reports many patients to have mild symptoms, but those more at risk and require hospitalization have some degree of respiratory failure.

As the Northland sees a rise in patients, and President Trump recently told Americans “don’t be afraid of COVID-19,” Dr. Thompson shared his reaction from the frontlines.

“I’ve seen people die from COVID-19, and I’ve seen people get very sick and remain sick for a long time,” said Thompson. “It’s not just me, I have colleagues from around the country, and we know from really good data that this is affecting millions of families and we know hundreds of thousands have died.”

Thompson says data shows that people with risk factors, including some underlying conditions and age, really put people at risk of death from the disease.

When asked about the upcoming holiday season, including Halloween and Thanksgiving, Thompson believes Thanksgiving will pose a greater risk of a spread than Halloween.

This is largely in part due to the fact that many Halloween activities take place outdoors.

Thompson reminds parents to double mask children who take part in trick-or-treating, avoid close, indoor gatherings, and maintain good hand hygiene.

“We’re all tired of this, but we have to keep up our energy and do everything we can to keep each other safe,” said Thompson.

Click here¬†for more information from St. Luke’s regarding COVID-19.


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