Hubbard County continues to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases. While last fall we saw a rise and fall of numbers in October and November, this year we saw cases begin to rise at the end of July and have remained steady with 478 cases in September and 443 to date for October. The rate of transmission has been “high” in Hubbard County since the end of August, with a current 7-day positivity rate of 14%. Across Minnesota, COVID hospitalizations remain high, with greater Minnesota having a higher hospitalization rate than the metro area. The ages of new cases and hospitalizations grows younger. Hubbard County has seen 5 COVID deaths since the middle of September, our first since last February.
Everyone is weary of this pandemic and the disruptions to normal life that it continues to cause. We, in public health, and in healthcare are sad to see the continued illness and loss of life, and overwhelmed healthcare systems are a risk for everyone needing any kind of medical care. It is even more frustrating knowing that there are safe and effective vaccines available free to the public that could help bring this pandemic to an end.
Currently 49.6% of Hubbard County residents are fully vaccinated. This rate is not sufficient to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus with the high level of transmission in our county. More than 50% of the population in our community is unprotected from infection, a breeding ground for continued illness and a risk to everyone, vaccinated, unvaccinated, and particularly our most vulnerable populations. Getting vaccinated not only protects you from severe illness, but also protects those around you. Vaccines are not politically motivated, but are a core public health measure relied upon since they first became available.
The good news is that vaccines are readily available now to more people than ever, including children as young as 5 years old. Please do your part to protect yourself, your family, and the community young and old, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are already vaccinated and are eligible for a booster shot, please get one. If you have family or friends that you can encourage to get vaccinated, please do so. Inaccurate information is everywhere, finding a reliable source with facts (not fear) is important. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccine, please talk to your medical provider or call Community Health at 218-237-5464 for non-judgemental, considerate, and factual information, as well as information about vaccine clinics. Local providers and pharmacies will also provide this service, find a location where you are comfortable and utilize it.
As always, stay home when you are sick, and practice good handwashing. Together we can move out of this pandemic, but it will take a full community effort.
Director, CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health
Hubbard County Public Health