Coronavirus

FDA Advisers Back Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Young Kids

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. health advisers have endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for younger children. The vote Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration panel moves the U.S. closer to vaccinating children ages 5 to 11. The FDA isn’t bound by the panel’s recommendation and is expected to make its own decision within days. If regulators agree, shots…

COVID-19 Wave Overwhelms Rural Hospitals Short On ICU Beds

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The case of a rural Minnesota man who waited two days for an ICU bed and later died is among several examples that have frustrated officials in rural hospitals whose facilities are overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Bob Cameron spent two days in his hometown hospital in Hallock, Minnesota, where caregivers searched nonstop for space in a larger…

Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccine More Than 90% Effective in Kids

(AP) – Pfizer says kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine are safe and nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children. Details of the study were posted online Friday as U.S. regulators consider opening vaccinations to youngsters 5 to 11. The shots could begin early next month if regulators give the go-ahead. If the FDA authorizes the…

Teachers Ask For Virus Protocols After Student, Staff Deaths

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Members of Minnesota’s teacher’s union are calling on on school leaders to do more to protect students and staff after the state Department of Health reported the first student death from COVID-19 this school year. Health officials said the student and two staff members died last week. That increased the total number of school fatalities…

St. Louis County Public Health Updates Online COVID Dashboard To Include New Regional Data, Pediatric Information

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Minn. – St. Louis County Public Health has updated its online COVID-19 dashboard to include new and updated regional data as well as pediatric COVID information. Health officials say the dashboard now includes clearer data about transmission rates and trends in the county. New graphs have also been added showing the total number of new cases added…

Unvaccinated Minnesotans 30x More Likely To Die From COVID

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says unvaccinated Minnesotans are 15 times more likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19 and 30 times more likely to die from the disease than unvaccinated residents. The commissioner gave those figures Wednesday as the Minnesota Department of Health began posting additional data as part of its weekly report on vaccine breakthrough cases, which…

Gov. Walz Announces More COVID Rapid Testing Sites Across Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. – On Wednesday Governor Walz’s office announced more COVID-19 rapid testing sites will be added in the coming weeks across Minnesota, including Duluth and Hibbing. Beginning Friday the current COVID testing site located at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center will offer rapid tests to the community. Earlier this month the DECC exapnded its COVID testing capacity by…

White House Details Plans to Vaccinate 28M Children Age 5-11

WASHINGTON (AP) – Kids aged 5 to 11 will soon be able to get a COVID-19 shot at their pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy, and potentially even their school. The White House is detailing plans Wednesday for the expected authorization of the Pfizer shot for younger children in a matter of weeks. The country has ample supplies of shots to vaccinate…

St. Louis County Public Health Announces New Vaccine and Testing Options

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Louis County Public Health is continuing to offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments and testing opportunities for the community. Vaccines available at these clinics include Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson. Also available are Pfizer boosters for those who are eligible, as well as third doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for immunocompromised individuals. Vaccine appointments this week…

Gov. Walz Announces Gift Cards, Shot at Scholarships for Vaccinated 12-17 Year-Olds

Those between the ages of 12 to 17 can get a $200 VISA gift card if they get vaccinated, and a shot at one of 5 $100k scholarships

ST. PAUL, Minn.- Governor Tim Walz just rolled out a new incentive program for Minnesota pre-teens and teens to get the COVID vaccine. The program is called “Kids Deserve a Shot.” Those between the ages of 12 to 17 can get a $200 VISA gift card if they get vaccinated. The Governor says with covid-19 cases surging in the state…

Walz to Deploy National Guard to Help Ease COVID-19 Surge

ROBBINSDALE, Minn. (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz says he’ll use the Minnesota National Guard to help alleviate staffing shortages at care facilities that are struggling with the surge in COVID-19 cases. The governor announced plans Friday at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale for alleviating bottlenecks caused by staffing shortages that prevent hospitals from moving recovering patients to transitional and…

Judge Won’t Block Vaccine Mandate for Minnesota Workers

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A federal judge won’t block a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for scores of Minnesota health care workers, at least for now. Nearly 200 Minnesota health care workers filed a lawsuit in September challenging the requirement from President Joe Biden’s administration that all workers in most health settings get vaccinated or lose their jobs. The workers argued…

Beds, Staff at Duluth Hospitals Stretched Thin Under St. Louis County’s COVID Surge

COVID patients take up 59 of the hospital beds at Essentia St. Mary's Medical Center -- the highest they've seen since last winter. At St. Luke's, 25% of the ICU beds are filled with COVID patients.

DULUTH, Minn.- St. Louis County continues to see an uptick of COVID-19 cases, while the country overall is seeing a dip. The surge is continuing to fatigue health systems according to experts, as they urge more to get vaccinated and mask up. “Now, while much of the country experiences a decrease in COVID transmission following the latest peak, there’s some…

Minnesota COVID-19 Positivity Rate Hits Vaccine-era High

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has soared to 8.3%, the highest mark since the vaccines first rolled out late last year. The seven-day rolling average for the state’s positivity rate continues to climb toward the high-risk category. The state draws that line at 10%. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota reached 960 as of Monday and…

Next on FDA’s Agenda: Booster Shots of Moderna, J&J Vaccines

WASHINGTON (AP) – With many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations already rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot, millions of others who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine wait anxiously to learn when it’s their turn. Federal regulators begin tackling that question this week. On Thursday and Friday, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers…

Parent Sues Wisconsin School District After Child Contracts COVID-19

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – A parent has sued a southeastern Wisconsin school district after her son contracted COVID-19 from a classmate. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Shannon Jensen filed the lawsuit in federal court against the Waukesha School District and school board on Oct. 5. According to the lawsuit, the board in May removed a student mask requirement and…

Merck Asks US FDA To Authorize Promising Anti-COVID Pill

(Merck & Co. via AP) WASHINGTON (AP) – Drugmaker Merck has asked U.S. regulators to authorize its promising antiviral pill against COVID-19, setting the stage for a decision within weeks. If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration, it would be the first pill shown to treat COVID-19, adding a new, easy-to-use weapon to the world’s arsenal against the pandemic….

Minnesota Long-Term Care Facilities have 23,000 Job Openings

Leaders from senior living organizations throughout the state say they have about 23,000 job openings, about 20 percent of the workforce at full strength.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – While much has been made about the stress that COVID-19 has placed on Minnesota hospitals, the state’s long-term care industry says it is facing its worst-ever workforce shortage. Leaders from senior living organizations throughout the state say they have about 23,000 job openings. That is about 20 percent of the workforce at full strength. Leaders…

97% Of University of Minnesota Students Vaccinated Before Mandate Deadline

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – When students returned to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus last month, it was with the understanding they had to be vaccinated by October 8. Now that the deadline is here, university officials say most students have complied with the vaccine mandate. “I filled mine out yesterday. They sent me a reminder email,” said sophomore…

Minnesota Health Leaders Warn of Strain on Caregivers, Kids

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota health leaders are warning that the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is putting a heavy strain on hospitals and health care workers statewide as the coronavirus burns through the unvaccinated population. They also told reporters Thursday that transmission in schools and among children is a particular concern, with pediatric ICU beds in short supply. Health…

Most State Workers Get COVID Shots, but Some Face Discipline

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Some Minnesota government employees say that a month into the COVID-19 vaccine policy for state workers, their agencies are ramping up discipline for employees who either won’t get the vaccine or submit to weekly testing. State officials say more than 500 employees have declined both options, Employees who decline to be vaccinated or tested can…

Parents File Lawsuit Against Rock Ridge School District Over Mask Mandate

VIRGINIA, Minn. – Following last week’s announcement that Rock Ridge schools would be implementing a mask mandate for all students, staff, and visitors a group of parents has responded by filing a lawsuit against the district on Monday. The group of nearly 300 parents is asking in the lawsuit to cease implementation of the district’s “COVID-19 Mitigation Plan” and to…

Walz Calls for Vaccine and Testing Requirements for Teachers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz is calling on lawmakers to approve a series of new measures to respond to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and school staff, and for long-term care workers. The Democratic governor detailed his proposal in a letter to lawmakers that he released after meeting privately with…

J&J Seeks US Clearance for COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses

WASHINGTON (AP) – Johnson & Johnson has asked U.S. regulators to allow booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine as the U.S. government moves toward shoring up protection in more vaccinated Americans. J&J said Tuesday it filed data with the Food and Drug Administration on giving a booster dose between two to six months after vaccination. The U.S. government last month…

Northland Health Experts Warn of ‘Severe’ Flu Season to Come, On Top of Pandemic

The shadow looming over all this, according to experts, is the stress healthcare systems nationwide are already under.

DULUTH, Minn.- According to Northland health experts, the outlook for this year’s flu season is not good, as they prepare for a one-two punch of the flu and the ongoing COVID-19 surge. “A lot of people are back out doing their normal activities, we’re not in quarantine so those factors will play a role in what could be a severe…

New COVID Testing Options Offered on the Iron Range

VIRGINIA, Minn. – New COVID-19 testing options are available on the Iron Range starting this week. St. Louis County Public Health along with the Minnesota Department of Health has increased the availability of walk-in saliva tests in Eveleth and Virginia. Free saliva tests are now available on the following days at the following locations, and will continue until further notice:…

UMD Student Sues The University of Minnesota Over Vaccine Mandate

DULUTH, Minn. – A University of Minnesota Duluth student has filed a lawsuit against the University of Minnesota System over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. According to court documents, the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, names the President of the University of Minnesota Joan Gabel, the U of M Board of Regents, and all five of the University of Minnesota campuses as defending…

Minnesota Health Care Workers Sue to Block Vaccine Mandate

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nearly 200 Minnesota health workers are suing their employers to block a pending requirement that they are vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk getting fired. The lawsuit was filed in federal court late Monday against federal officials and about 20 providers that operate hospitals and clinics across Minnesota. It contends the lack of alternatives to vaccination infringes on…

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases Top 700k; ICU Cases Dip to 197

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has topped the 700,000 mark, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care at Minnesota hospitals fell below 200 for the first time in two weeks. The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 6,203 new cases to raise the state’s total to 706,158 laboratory-confirmed cases. The…

St. Luke’s Employees Booster Up; Eligible Public Starts Tuesday

People over 65, adults with certain underlying medical health conditions, and those who work in environments with increased risk of COVID-19 are eligible for booster shots.

DULUTH, Minn.- Pfizer booster shots have begun going into the arms of healthcare workers in the Northland, as eligible members of the public start getting those shots Tuesday. “I think it’s really a great step, it’s gonna help with everything that’s coming this winter and it’s just gonna help keep our community that much safer,” said Kelly Zapp, St. Luke’s…

St. Luke’s To Offer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses to Those Eligible

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Luke’s will start offering COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for those eligible beginning next week. The hospital says the vaccines will be given at the St. Luke’s COVID-19 Clinic by appointment only. Appointments are available to schedule via the myCare patient portal or by calling the Vaccine Clinic at 218-249-4200. The CDC’s recent recommendations for COVID-19 boosters…

US Sets the Stage for COVID Booster Shots for Millions

(AP) – The U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 stands on the verge of a major new phase: Government advisers on Thursday recommended booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for millions of Americans. This, despite concern among some experts that the extra shots will do little to slow the pandemic. The advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended…

Few COVID-19 Vaccinated Patients Need Intensive Care

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Fully vaccinated people make up a minority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and an even lower number of people needing intensive care and ventilators, current data from two large hospital systems in the Upper Midwest shows. Minneapolis-based Allina Health reported 176 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 this week and that 22% are vaccinated against the coronavirus. Sanford Health, based…

Vaccination Rates Vary Widely on UW-System Campuses

UW-System Promotes Scholarship Drawing Aimed at Boosting Vaccination Rates Among Students

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – University of Wisconsin officials say student vaccination rates for COVID-19 vary widely among the system’s campuses. At the Madison campus, 91% of students are fully vaccinated, the highest number among the system’s universities. The lowest number of vaccinated students are at UW-Parkside where 38% have been inoculated. Other campuses range from 75% at La Crosse to…

Biden Easing Restrictions for Foreign Travel, Requiring Vaccines

U.S. Foreign Travel Restrictions will Begin to Ease in November

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House says President Joe Biden will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November and allow foreign nationals into the country if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test. The new rules replace a hodgepodge of restrictions that had barred non-citizens who had been in certain countries in the prior…

Pfizer: COVID-19 Vaccine Works in Children Ages 5 to 11

The Vaccine Maker Plans to Seek Authorization in U.S., Britain, and Europe

(Associated Press) – Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11. The vaccine maker said Monday it plans to seek authorization for this age group soon in the U.S., Britain, and Europe. The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech already is available for anyone 12 and older. But many parents are anxiously awaiting…

ISD #381 to Require Masks for All Elementary Students Starting Monday, Sept. 20

The Requirement Comes Amid a Spike in COVID-19 Cases in Lake County

TWO HARBORS, Minn. – Starting Monday, Sept. 20, masks will be required for elementary students in Lake Superior School District #381. This includes schools elementary grades in Two Harbors and Silver Bay. The district’s superintendent says due to an increase in new COVID-19 cases in the county, their only option was to make masks a requirement for elementary grades due…

FDA Advisory Panel Rejects Widespread Pfizer Booster Shots

WASHINGTON (AP) – An influential federal advisory panel has rejected a plan to offer Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans. The vote Friday, 16-2, was a blow to the Biden administration’s plan to shore up people’s protection against the virus amid the highly contagious delta variant. Over several hours of discussion, members of the Food and Drug Administration…

Itasca County Health Officials Concerned as Delta Variant Spreads

Vaccination Rates Continue to Climb, but Health Officials Say More Work Needs to be Done

ITASCA COUNTY, Minn. – Health officials in Itasca County are looking to get ahead of the spread as the Delta variant of COVID-19 is being passed through community transmission. “We have to get back to basics. Everyone is tired of COVID and no one wants to be doing this anymore, but we do know what works,” said Kayla Scrivner, COO…

COVID Concerns Forcing Chisholm’s K-3rd Graders Back To Distance Learning

CHISHOLM, Minn. – An “increasing” number of COVID cases is forcing some elementary grades in the Chisholm School District to learn from home for at least the next two weeks. The changes are affecting K-3rd graders at Vaughan Steffensrud Elementary School, according to Adrian Norman, the district’s superintendent. Norman confirms St. Louis County health officials raised the alarm about the…

Shortage on ICU Beds in Twin Cities Has Ripple Effect on Rural Minnesota

(FOX 9) – As more hospital ICU beds fill up in the metro, it’s having a ripple effect on patient care in rural hospitals. Rural healthcare staff says they are scrambling to get patients in critical care the help they need fast enough because the resources are just not there. “Rural hospitals are designed for primary care and general surgery….

Evers Announces COVID Testing Requirement for State Workers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers’ administration issued an order Tuesday requiring all executive branch workers who haven’t submitted their COVID-19 vaccination status to their supervisors or aren’t fully vaccinated to undergo weekly testing. The mandate will go into effect on Oct. 18 and apply to all executive branch employees, interns, and contractors. Nearly 70% of the executive branch’s…

Minnesota Schools See Slight Bump in Weekly Virus Cases

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota schools are seeing increases in weekly coronavirus cases as students return to classrooms across the state. More than 100 facilities from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade reported infections last week. That’s according to a weekly COVID-19 report released by the Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday. The figure is up from previous weeks but remains a fraction…

United Airlines Lays Out Vaccination Rules for Employees

Airline's 67,000 employees have until Sept. 27 to get vaccinated

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) (FOX Business) – United Airlines says that more than half its employees who weren’t vaccinated last month have gotten their shots since the company announced that vaccines would be required. The airline’s 67,000 U.S.-based employees face a Sept. 27 deadline for getting vaccinated. United said Wednesday, however, that employees whose bids for exemptions based on…