Perspectives from Itasca County about COVID

Updated: April 01, 2021 08:17 PM
Created: April 01, 2021 07:01 PM

Karen Arnold and her husband had lived in a very small bubble during the pandemic. "It was just the two of us," she said. "We thought we made it through."

But they still caught COVID-19. And it landed Karen in the hospital. "It's so scary. Your husband drops you off, and you walk in the door by yourself, and you sit there and face whatever happens," she said through tears.

Thankfully, after a series of drugs and treatments, she recovered. And did not need a ventilator. "Everyone was so kind and so understanding. I appreciate it so much," she said.

Cases are rising in the state again. But the vaccines seem to be working. Dr. Dan Soular from Grand Itasca said in the M Health Fairview system, about 100 people are currently hospitlized. And of those, only one had been fully vaccinated.

"We're very nearly getting to the point, in my opinion, where COVID hospitalization is going to be preventable," Soular said.

Two kinds of the variant have been found in Itasca County, according to public health. But the vaccines seem to be proving effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from the UK variant. 

Public Health Division Manager Kelly Chandler said they have 41% of their residents who've begun their vaccination series.

Schools remain open, and students like Caroline Ahcan are grateful. She's a sophomore, who has a job at a local restaurant. "There are a lot of kids like me working at gas stations, waiting tables, checking people out at the grocery store. And like a lot of my friends, we're still too young to get vaccinated. Employers and adults are doing the right things," she said.

Nurses at the schools have had the complex task of testing, contact tracing, managing when kids can return, and also still running the normal health tasks. "They are running non-stop and doing such an amazing job. Because of them we can stay in school," shared Angela Berg, assistant principal at Robert J. Elkington Middle School.

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