Local Health Leaders React to Minnesota’s COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Local Health Leaders React to Minnesota’s COVID-19 Reopening Plan

Heading into the summer months, Essentia Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Henry said there’s less of a concern about travelers and tourists vacationing in the Northland. The main concern currently is making sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine and wants one has the opportunity to get vaccinated.

He said even once guidelines are lifted, if you feel sick it’s important to get tested. Saint Louis County health director Amy Westbrook said she had mixed feelings about the governor’s announcement at first.

Essentia Health has administered more than 153,000 COVID-19 vaccines system-wide. In Saint Louis County, health officials say about 87,000 residents are fully vaccinated. More 101,000 people living in the county have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. That’s because she knows the virus is still out there and some people are still at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Health officials say don’t just assume it’s a regular cough or allergies if something feels different. Getting tested and quarantining will help limit the spread even more. “If you’re sick, get tested, because that’s really the important thing,” said Dr. Henry. “We know that COVID will probably still have some activity in our state and other states.”

Westbrook said she believes the county can reach the Governor’s 70% percent vaccination goal by July 1. That’s when Walz said he will lift the statewide mask mandate. She said all the county vaccine clinics are hard at work and have plenty of vaccine in supply, so any who qualifies can get one.

“There’s a lot of work still to do, but it feels really good to hear that we may have a summer where it will seem much closer to normal from what we’ve been dealing with for the last, more than a year,” said Westbrook. County health leaders are still discussing if they will lift their mask mandate when July 1 comes. RELATED: Walz outlines 3-step plan to end COVID restrictions, statewide mask mandate

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