ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on Jan. 7, 2022.
- Gov. Walz expands "Kids Deserve a Shot" vaccine incentive program to 5-11-year-olds
- Allina Health announces "red visitor status," bans patient visitors in its facilities with limited exceptions
- Officials urge people to stop going to ERs and hospitals for COVID tests
- MDH adopts CDC guidelines on reduced quarantine time
Tuesday, Jan. 11
On Tuesday Governor Tim Walz announced that the state is expanding its "Kids Deserve a Shot" program to include children between the ages of 5 and 11. Families that get a child in that age group vaccinated (both first and second dose) between January 1 and February 28 can claim a $200 VISA gift card. Eligible children who complete their COVID series in that time frame will also be entered in a drawing for one of five $100,000 college scholarships.
In a press release, the Walz administration said while Minnesota is one of the leaders in getting 5 to 11-year-olds vaccinated, Tuesday's data release by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said just 33% in that age group have received at least one dose.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday announced hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in the state. However, the latest data published likely does not paint the full picture of the current coronavirus surge, which has been fueled largely due to the omicron variant, as many at-home COVID tests were not reported to state health officials.
Health experts also say that due to the contagiousness of omicron, new cases should not be the primary focus or measurement of the current wave, saying that hospitalizations and deaths better illustrate the severity of the surge.
Minnesota reported 29,487 new COVID cases and 38 new COVID-related deaths on Tuesday.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Minnesota has reported a total of 1,104,494 COVID cases and 10,838 COVID deaths.
Of those 10,838 COVID-related deaths, 5,203 of them happened in long-term care or assistant living facilities.
Hospitalizations due to COVID remain high in Minnesota and trending towards the previous peak set last year. MDH officials say 1,528 COVID patients are hospitalized and of those, 263 are in the ICU.
More Minnesotans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccination rates for children ages 5 to 11 are still below the statewide average. 170,082 children (33%) have received at least one dose and of those, 133,488 (25%) have been fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, 8,909,051 doses of the COVID vaccines have reportedly administered and 3,784,898 people have received at least one dose and 3,550,974 people have been fully vaccinated.
Of the nearly nine million doses administered, MDH reports that 59.7% were Pfizer, 36.6% were Moderna and 3.7% were the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Monday, Jan. 10
An ordinance declaring a public health emergency in Duluth has failed by a 7-2 vote, with seven in favor, and two against.
KARE 11 affiliate KBJR reports the proposal was first floated by Councilor Terese Tomanek, who required all nine councilors to support the proposal.
This initial vote was preemptive, and had it passed unanimously, it would have further allowed the council to schedule a second vote on requiring citywide indoor masking that would have only required a simple majority to pass.
KBJR reports Councilors Derek Medved and Roz Randorf were the only two voting against.
Despite the setback, the council did recognize the ability of Mayor Emily Larson to enact her own mandate without council approval through emergency powers.
Allina Health announced its facilities will begin "red visitor status" Tuesday, which puts a ban on patient visitors with limited exceptions.
In a statement sent to KARE 11 Monday afternoon, Allina said safety of patients, employees and visitors is "top priority."
"Allina Health has never seen a community illness impact patients and staff to the levels COVID-19 is currently," the statement read. "The current surge of COVID-19 infections has increased levels of community exposure, has sharply increased pressure on the communities we serve and on an already strained system dealing with staffing shortages."
The release went on to say that an average of more than 100 staff members were removed from work every day in the first five days of 2022 due to either positive COVID infections, or waiting for test results.
“The weariness among healthcare workers and the general public is profound. We empathize and are hopeful 2022 will bring a turning point in this pandemic; however, we need the public to help those who care for us,” said Hsieng Su, MD, Allina Health senior vice president and chief medical executive.
The health care provider went on to encourage masking, getting vaccinated and testing if you feel sick.
Visit Allina's website for more information about current visitor policies.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced hundreds of new COVID cases and dozens of new deaths in the state on Monday. Health officials contribute the large number of cases to the backlog of cases from the weekend due to processing errors.
According to MDH, 10,964 more people have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 1,075,028.
MDH officials reported on Monday new 44 COVID-related deaths.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Minnesota has reported 10,810 COVID-related deaths.
Officials say 5,201 COVID-related deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
According to MDH's newest published data, more than 1,300 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals in Minnesota, with 1,180 patients in non-ICU beds and 255 in the ICU.
ICU bed space continues to be low across the state.
MDH reported total doses of 8,849,903 vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,775,306 people age 5 and older having received at least one shot (72.4%). Of that number, 3,541,401 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (68%).
Among children 5 through 11 years old, 166,954 kids have at least one shot (33%) and 128,459 have completed their vaccine series (25%).
According to the state's vaccine dashboard, out of the total number of doses that have been administered in Minnesota, 59.6% are Pfizer, 36.6% are Moderna and 3.8% are Johnson & Johnson.
Watch more on the coronavirus:
Watch the latest reports and updates on the coronavirus pandemic in Minnesota with our YouTube playlist: