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

COVID-19 persists while flu declines in Minnesota


February 3, 2023

Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Naima Ahmed received one of the last COVID-19 tests administered by nurse Sue Clarke at the state's St. Paul Midway testing site before it shut down Jan. 27.

Minnesota had all the ingredients for a severe influenza season this winter, but Thursday's weekly state update suggests it is escaping with less damage than expected.

Only 19 flu-related hospitalizations were reported in the week ending Jan. 28, down from a peak of nearly 600 per week in mid-November, according to the weekly report. The 142 confirmed flu-related deaths so far put Minnesota behind the trajectory of some of its worst flu seasons.

The surprise early start to the flu season this fall had experts worried, because the two prior seasons had been mild and a low vaccination rate left Minnesotans with diminished immune protection. Dr. Frank Rhame, an Allina Health virologist, said he feared the worst after that surge, but the flu season now appears to be early rather than severe.


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