Minnesota leaders urge caution amid viral risks of holiday season
Gatherings can be germ exchanges that fuel increases in COVID-19, influenza and other illnesses
December 14, 2022
State health leaders are encouraging Minnesotans to take extra precautions against respiratory viruses during the holidays - including the vaccinations they would need in the next two days to be fully protected by Christmas Day.
Unseasonably early levels of influenza and RSV - a virus that is most problematic for infants - have combined with COVID-19 to fill up hospitals. Federal data on Monday showed 8,228 patients were admitted to Minnesota hospitals, an 86% occupancy rate that rivaled the worst days of the pandemic. More than 10% of the patients had COVID-19, influenza, or both.
Holiday gatherings are notorious for spreading germs, which could make matters worse unless people reduce their risks by staying home when sick, wearing masks in indoor crowds, covering coughs and seeking the recommended vaccinations, said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health commissioner.