Itasca County Public Health Warns Residents Are ‘Not Out of the Woods’ Just Yet

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Itasca County continue to decline, but public health officials warn residents they’re not out of the woods just yet.

Kelly Chandler, Division Manager with Itasca County Public Health, says with the spread of the Omicron variant, the county has experienced difficult fall and winter months.

Just over 62 percent of the population over the age of five in Itasca County has been vaccinated.

The region has witnessed 133 lives lost to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, with half of those deaths occurring in the past five months.

While the grim milestone is a reality, medical officials say they are seeing the current surge begin to subside.

“This week we’ve seen some beds opening up out there at those next-level facilities in Duluth and the metro which has allowed us to get some patients out to specialists faster out of our ER than we have in recent history,” said Jean MacDonell, President & CEO of Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital.

Hospital officials say they are still dealing with staff shortages on a regular basis.

The highest 14-day case rate in Itasca County sits at 171.8 per 10,000 residents.

The current 14-day case rate is 108 per 10,000 residents.

Click here for the latest information from Itasca County Public Health.

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