Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

COVID-19 variant not found in Minnesota, but remains a concern


January 8, 2021

ALEX KORMANN • Star Tribune

Sherry Johnson, a nurse practitioner, drew the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth to administer to ICU nurse Sam Moder in December.

The faster-spreading variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 hasn't been found yet in Minnesota, but public health experts are on the hunt because of its potential to increase infections and threaten the state's latest attempted return to normalcy.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said mask-wearing and social distancing is critical anyway as Minnesota reopens bars and restaurants at 50% capacity on Monday, but has added importance because the B.1.1.7 viral variant has been found in several states. Texas reported its first such case on Thursday.

"We're going to keep a very, very close eye on this, as we always do," she said, "but these next weeks in particular are very critical to see if this graduated, and gradual, reopening strategy can sustain through what we think are some difficult months to come."


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