Cook County - North Shore Health ambulance
WTIP file photo

Hospital beds filling in northeastern Minnesota as pandemic rolls into September

Vaccination events for COVID-19 continue in Cook County as September arrives and the new school year approaches. An event Sept. 1 at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais marks the first such event as summer winds down.

More vaccination events are scheduled for Cook County as virus cases continue to increase across the state and hospitals near full capacity, with both intensive care unit beds and overall hospital beds more than 90 percent occupied, the Associated Press reports.

St. Louis County health officials and healthcare workers said this week that hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 are surging in the region — the vast majority in unvaccinated people. The number of patients in intensive care at St. Mary’s hospital in Duluth has doubled in the past two weeks, and ten more patients were admitted to intensive care units across all Essentia Health facilities on Tuesday, according to the AP.

Local and state healthcare workers reference vaccination and masking in public indoor settings as the most effective ways to limit transmission and reduce the strain on healthcare systems in northeastern Minnesota, from Duluth to Grand Marais.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Dr. Kurt Farchmin from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais for an update on the recent uptick in the case count among Cook County residents and what to expect as the pandemic continues into the new month and season.

“As school is going to open up, we have to expect seeing more cases going forward,” Farchmin said.

Families need to be ready for a situation where their child might have to quarantine due to infection or exposure to COVID-19 in the weeks and potentially months ahead, Farchmin said during the update.

Listen to the full interview in the audio below.