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Man in 20s among recent COVID-19 deaths in Crow Wing

As with new cases in the region, COVID-19 hospitalizations in local hospitals are also trending downward.

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Photo: Unsplash/Fusion Medical Animation

While new cases of COVID-19 have declined in recent weeks in the north-central Minnesota region, the Minnesota Department of Health reported the deaths of 30 locals since Dec. 27, including a man in his late 20s in Crow Wing County.

This is the youngest COVID-19-related death reported thus far in the county, and one of eight recently reported deaths in the region among people younger than 65. Six other Crow Wing County residents reported to have perished due to complications of the disease are a man age 45-49, two men ages 60-64, a man age 65-69, and two men ages 70-74.

Six Mille Lacs County residents died: a 60- to 64-year-old, three people ages 70-74, a person age 75-79 and a person age 90-94. Both Morrison and Cass counties reported the deaths of five residents. In Morrison, they included people ages 50-54, 65-69, 70-74 and two people age 85-89. The Cass County deaths included those ages 65-69, 75-79, 80-84 and two people age 70-74. Three Todd County residents died: a 50- to 54-year-old, 75- to 79-year-old and 80- to 84-year-old. And two people each in Aitkin (60-64, 70-74) and Wadena (75-79, 80-84) counties were among the dead.

As with new cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations in local hospitals are also trending downward. Essentia Health reported Friday its St. Joseph’s Medical Center intensive care unit in Brainerd had seven patients total, three of whom have complications due to COVID-19. All three were unvaccinated. Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby reported it admitted 52 total patients between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2, seven of whom were COVID-19-related and five of whom were unvaccinated.

The slowdown in the north-central region is not necessarily reflective of the state as a whole, however. New cases are quickly escalating in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. While Crow Wing County experienced a 41% drop in its daily average of new cases over the last 14 days, according to The New York Times coronavirus tracker, Hennepin County’s daily average rose by 138% and Ramsey County by 135%.

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The seven-day rolling average positivity rate reached an all-time pandemic high in the state Friday as well at 15.6%. The New York Times reported Crow Wing’s positivity rate as of Friday was 12%, “suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted.”

Omicron strains monoclonal antibody therapy supply

The omicron variant overtaking delta as the dominant strain of COVID-19 has caused several issues with monoclonal antibody therapy.

The omicron variant and its mutations make most treatments ineffective. Sotrovimab is effective against the omicron variant, but supply is currently very limited across the nation, both Tri-County Health Care in Wadena and Essentia Health reported.

Tri-County offers sotrovimab infusions but there is a limited supply and an eligibility system is in place, as directed by the state of Minnesota. Tri-County Health Care strongly encouraged eligible people to get vaccinated, adding monoclonal antibody therapy should not and cannot replace vaccination for reducing severe infection.

Essentia Health stated Friday it currently has enough of the therapy to meet the needs of the current eligible population as defined by the state health department.

If infected, the best time to explore monoclonal antibody therapy is early on in the progression of COVID-19 symptoms, the release stated. It’s recommended the therapy be administered within 10 days of initial symptoms, but ideally within five to seven days after initial symptoms.

Sotrovimab is given as a one-hour infusion. Patients are typically monitored for another hour as a precaution in case of allergic reactions.

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