By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials reported 101 more COVID deaths Friday, the most in a day since the pandemic began.

“The numbers were staggering today,” said Helen Strike, the president of both Regina Hospital and River Falls Area Hospital in the Allina Health system.

Dr. Mark Sannes, an infectious disease physician at Park Nicollet Health Services, says it’s been shown that high hospitalization and death tolls usually come a couple weeks after high numbers of cases were reported.

“Unfortunately, I think we expected to see the rise in deaths based upon what the month of November has brought us with numbers of new cases,” he said.

Therefore, cases can be called a “lagging indicator.”

Sannes says Minnesota should brace for more jarringly high death reports in the coming days.

By the same token, it’ll take some weeks to know the impact, if any, of Thanksgiving gathering and travel.

“We saw lots of people traveling, lots of people getting together across the state and country, and I’m a little worried we may have more cases coming,” Sannes said.

Nationwide, more travelers passed through airport TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, than on any day since March 16.

However, there are reasons to be optimistic.

Strike and Sannes expect the latest dial back order of restaurants and gyms to do what it’s intended, but again, they say we won’t know for at least a few weeks.

Then there’s the vaccine.

Strike says she sees light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s not going to be fast, unfortunately, given the way production works and how things will come forward,” she said. “Our most vulnerable of our residents and our caregivers will of course be in the very first roles, but it is certainly hope.”

Sannes says he’s hopeful that some health care workers will be starting to get vaccinated by late December.

Governor Tim Walz also recently targeted mid-to-late December as when there’s an “incredibly strong possibility” for people in long-term care facilities and frontline health workers to be vaccinated.

 

David Schuman