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Local Covid-19 cases come in ‘peaks and valleys’

FAIRMONT– Community Health and Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties has been tracking local information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic since it began in early 2020. Tim Langer, Public Health Sanitarian, said that while numbers had been going in an upward trend, they’ve recently taken a dip.

“It’s increased weekly until this last week. It appears we may have reached a peak,” Langer said.

He went on to say the case rates have been going in a peak and valley trend over the course of the pandemic.

“We had the highest peak since the start of the pandemic in the last couple of months,” Langer said.

He said that locally we had peaked around Nov. and Dec. 2020. However, he said the cases went way down over the summer months.

“Many people thought they we had went through the worst of it, but due to the number of unvaccinated people, we in public health knew we were susceptible to another peak,” Langer said.

He said around late August, case rates started going up again, especially with the emergence of the Delta variant.

“It spreads very easily. A coupe of weeks ago we were at our highest point of the entire pandemic,” he said.

The week of Sept. 5-11, there were 57 new Covid-19 cases in Martin County. The next week, there were 97 cases. In the week of Sept. 26- Oct. 2 there were 146 cases in Martin County. Most recently, number reported on Monday, Oct. 18 showed 112 cases in the county.

Langer is hopeful that the county is turning a curve now as the numbers have gone done in the last week, however, he knows it’s a fluid situation.

As for vaccinations, Langer said the trend has certainly been downward recently compared to when vaccines first became available.

More recently they’ve had some high profile cases in Faribault County and Langer said he’s hoping it helps increase vaccination rates in Faribault and Martin counties.

“It’s critical to ending this pandemic. It will keep spreading as long as there’s people who are unvaccinated,” he said.

Langer acknowledges that there have been breakthrough cases, but said that they’re typically less severe.

Langer also talked about the boosters that are available. He said a new booster for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available. A Pfizer booster has been available for certain age groups and those who are immunocompromised.

“Moderna will be available for a booster shortly and I’m also hearing that in November hopefully there will be some changes that will allow the 5-11 year-olds to receive the Pfizer vaccine,” Langer said.

Langer encourages that people take advantage of the boosters.

“The third dose, from what I’ve been reading, really kicks in your immune system and provides protection, especially against the Delta variant,” he said.

When comparing the counties vaccination rates with the rest of the states, Langer said it’s not as high as some areas, but probably higher than others. According the the Minnesota Department of Health, 77 percent of Martin County age 18 and over is vaccinated.

Langer said if more of the population was vaccinated, we wouldn’t be experiencing the large peaks anymore.

“In public health, we’re trying to get people to understand that this is good for them. It’s a good choice. We hope people do their research and get vaccinated,” Langer said.

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