Minneapolis health department epidemiologist, Luisa Pessoa-Brandão-Brandão-Brandão, provided a COVID 19 update to the September Hawthorne Huddle meeting. She said the city continues to see an increase in COVID cases. Most cases involve the unvaccinated, but there some fully vaccinated are testing positive, and some experience breakthrough infection.
From June 13th through August 18th over 2,000 cases were diagnosed, a huge increase from April and May.
The median age for unvaccinated hospitalized cases is 30 compared to 58 for those fully vaccinated. 50% of those who are fully vaccinated and hospitalized had an underlying medical condition compared to 18% of those not fully vaccinated.
Pessoa-Brandão-Brandão said that means the vaccine is doing its job. It’s protecting those that are mostly healthy and from severe disease. “We have made some progress in vaccination. It’s slow, but steady. I just wish we were making more progress in terms of getting the most impacted communities vaccinated,” she said.
“We are continuing to work with the schools,” Pessoa-Brandão-Brandão said. “There was a vaccination clinic held at Washburn High School at their ‘Welcome Back School Night’. We’re making connections with North and South High School along with Patrick Henry in cooperation with the Minneapolis Public Schools. Not only do we want to set up additional vaccination clinics, but we also want to ensure that everyone exposed receives the right ‘next step’ information and is provided with resources for testing and for vaccinations.”
Pessoa-Brandão-Brandão said the Delta variant is the major concern to date. 99.5% of cases diagnosed in Minnesota are as a result of the variant. “It is much more transmissible, so we need to be even more vigilant. Perhaps we can encourage those that are unvaccinated to do a little more research and help protect themselves and those closest to them by considering being vaccinated,” she said.
“Hospitalizations are less than 0.1% of those fully vaccinated, and some of them weren’t necessarily hospitalized for COVID. Additional county and state resources have been made available for vaccination events often with $50 and $100-dollar gift cards given out at the time of taking the shots. We were seeing maybe 5 new cases per day, and now we’re seeing 90 cases a day,” Pessoa-Brandão-Brandão said.
The COVID vaccine is not among the required vaccines for going back to school right now; and it is approved only those 12 and older. It is not yet approved for ages five to 11. “We do encourage kids and families to catch up on the required vaccinations. Looking at the data for our zip codes and the 55411 and 55412 for children’s vaccinations, including MMR and measles, only about 50% of the kids have what they should have by now at this age,” she said.