North-central regional counties make vaccination progress
All seven area counties are overperforming when compared to the state as a whole in distributing the vaccine to those age 65 and older.
As Minnesota Department of Health officials celebrated the 1,000,000th dose of COVID-19 vaccine distributed in the state Friday, Feb. 19, Aitkin County became the first in the seven-county region in which 20% of the population received at least one dose.
A total of 3,162 Aitkin County residents are at least partially vaccinated as of Wednesday, the latest date for which data was available Friday. Of those, 926 Aitkin County residents completed the two-dose vaccination series, according to the health department.
While Aitkin County leads the way in the region with that statistic, it came in last of the seven regional counties for the proportion of those vaccinated who’ve received both doses at 29%. This compares to the more populous Todd County, which is last in the region for those with at least one dose at 12.4%, but 53% of those residents have received both doses.
Crow Wing County — the most populous county in the region with twice as many residents as next in line Morrison County — sits at 14.5% of its population at least partially vaccinated, or fourth in the region. But 45% of Crow Wing’s vaccinated have received both doses, second to Todd.
All seven area counties are overperforming when compared to the state as a whole in distributing the vaccine to those age 65 and older. Statewide, 46% of those vaccinated are 65-plus. That figure sits at 68% in Aitkin County; 63%-64% in Cass, Todd and Wadena counties; 58% in Crow Wing; and 55% in Morrison. Only in Mille Lacs County do those age 65 and older represent less than half of vaccine recipients with 49%.
Minnesotans who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged by the state health department to sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. There is no cost and no restricted time period for signing up.
Visit mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/connector or call 833-431-2053 for assistance signing up over the phone. Minnesotans will provide basic information to sign up for the Vaccine Connector such as contact information, demographic data, medical history, and employment to determine their eligibility based on state guidelines.
According to a news release, when a Minnesotan becomes eligible to receive a vaccine under state guidelines, the Vaccine Connector will alert them of their eligibility, connect them to resources to schedule an appointment, and notify them if there are vaccination opportunities in their area. Minnesota is currently vaccinating health care workers, long-term care residents, pre-kindergarten through grade 12 educators, child care workers and people age 65 and over.
Adults 65 and older who already registered through either the COVID-19 Vaccine Pilot Program or the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program do not need to re-submit their information. When adults 65 and older sign up for the Vaccine Connector, they will be entered into the random selection process for the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites operating in Minneapolis, Duluth and Rochester.
COVID-19 data as of Feb. 19
Aitkin — 1,163, with 33 deaths; as of Wednesday, Feb. 17, 3,162 residents have received at least one vaccine dose, representing 20% of the county’s population.
Cass — 2,161, with 24 deaths; 4,385 residents with at least one dose, 15%.
Crow Wing — 5,124, with 80 deaths; 9,330 residents with at least one dose, 14.5%.
Mille Lacs — 2,240, with 46 deaths; 3,558 residents with at least one dose, 13.8%.
Morrison — 3,203, with 46 deaths; 4,328 residents with at least one dose, 13.1%.
Todd — 2,414, with 30 deaths; 3,046 residents with at least one dose, 12.4%.
Wadena — 1,269, with 19 deaths; 1,998 residents with at least one dose, 14.6%.
NOTE: These numbers are cumulative since March 21, 2020, and many are out of isolation.