St. Luke’s Hospitalist Depicts Daily Routine, Optimism as COVID-19 Vaccinations Continue

Dr. Jake Powell with St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth Discusses What It's Like to Work on the Frontlines Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

DULUTH, Minn. – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on healthcare systems across the nation, locally, Northland hospitals are thankful to see a decrease in new cases and severe hospitalizations.

Dr. Jake Powell is a hospitalist with St. Luke’s in Duluth.

He says as COVID-19 cases are decreasing, his daily routine continues to be inundated with many patients suffering from COVID-19.

“Our numbers are more comparable to what we were seeing during the summer months of 2020. Our big surge was from mid-October through December where about 25-30 percent of our hospital was full of COVID patients,” said Powell.

Dr. Powell says his crew continues to provide the best care possible for patients who require hospitalization. Duties have been divided between staff members.

“There have been days where we are seeing 15-20 COVID patients during our shift,” said Powell. “It’s been certainly an experience I think we will look back on and see how it defined our healthcare at the time.”

As of Wednesday, Feb. 24, St. Louis County, a region with more than 190,000 residents, has administered over 58,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Powell says we could certainly do a better job with vaccination numbers, but he’s optimistic that this will help us find the light at the end of the tunnel.

“The more people that get vaccinated, the sooner this pandemic is going to end,” said Powell.

The biggest sticking point Dr. Powell hears from patients in regards to the COVID-19 vaccines is that it’s ‘experimental.’

“The experiment is done, it’s over. The trials have been extremely well done, the vaccines are unbelievably safe and effective. These are proven, safe, and effective vaccines,” said Powell.

Powell believes most people simply don’t understand the science behind the COVID-19 vaccines. It’s something he and his colleagues will continue to educate the public on in the coming weeks and months.

Tune in to FOX 21 Local News at 5:30 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24 for special continuing coverage of COVID Vaccine: Finding Answers.



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