Essentia Health President Optimistic, Yet Cautious as Pandemic Continues in 2021
Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health, Says Northlanders Must Remain Cautious as COVID Vaccinations Continue
DULUTH, Minn. – While cases of COVID-19 continue to slightly decrease across Minnesota, hospitals in the Northland are still feeling the strain.
Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health, chatted with FOX 21’s Brett Scott Wednesday morning about vaccine distribution, the current situation inside Northland hospitals, and the outlook for 2021.
“I want to thank everyone in the Northland for doing their part with wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds. This has really helped,” said Dr. Pryor.
Dr. Pryor says just weeks ago, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 at Essentia Health was in the 80s, and now numbers are down in the 50s.
“We are concerned, there could be another surge in cases in the Northland that comes within the next one to three weeks due to holiday gatherings,” said Dr. Pryor.
While the COVID-19 vaccines bring optimism for Dr. Pryor, he still urges residents to use caution moving forward as it could be weeks if not months before the general public begins to be inoculated.
Dr. Pryor says by the end of January, we should be through Phase 1A of vaccinations, which will then allow for more citizens to receive the shot.
Older residents and those with underlying health conditions will be the next begin inoculations.
“I just want to remind everybody, you could be in your 20s or 30s and have long-term effects from COVID-19, or even die from the disease,” said Dr. Pryor.
Looking ahead in 2021, Dr. Pryor is optimistic that sometime in the mid-late summer, we’re going to feel like COVID-19 is over. He credits this belief to more people becoming vaccinated, and the warmer summer months allowing people to get outdoors and avoid crowded indoor gatherings.
“Right now, we need people to keep their guard up with wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings,” said Dr. Pryor.
When asked about who to trust when it comes to new developments and information regarding COVID-19, Pryor emphasized the need to trust experts, physicians, and researchers as we move forward.
“I would encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you do not want COVID. The risk of the vaccine is very small, and if you get COVID, you will not like it,” said Dr. Pryor.