ST. CLOUD -- Healthcare officials are starting to get concerned as a spike in COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country are putting a strain on testing supplies.

CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris says everyone across the country is asking for the same materials...

Those test supplies are becoming more and more limited, again. I apologize if I say that with exasperation and frustration but these are situations we dealt with early on. The manufacturing, the supplies, the equipment, the little things we need to do a test, and then get it processed quickly are becoming scarce, again.

Dr. Morris says we should look at our efforts to fight the virus as a four-legged stool. Each leg represents one area we need to address, social distancing, mask-wearing, testing and tracing, and staying home when ill. When one of those legs fails, the stool becomes less stable and relies more on the others.

Dr. Morris also believes it may take a little while longer to see the statistics bear out whether a statewide mask mandate will help lower the number of positive COVID-19 cases. He says it will likely take a few virus life-cycles before we see the benefit...

I view it more as like two to three life-cycles. We're also kind of saying, well maybe it's a 10-day high-risk exposure. So, 10-14 days is what I would call one viral life-cycle. I think it's going to take two to three of those, which kinds of means more we're looking at three weeks to six weeks to really see that benefit.

The numbers of patients with COVID-19 at St. Cloud Hospital are relatively flat according to Dr. Morris.  He says there are patients in the hospital with the virus, but the numbers are still relatively low at this time.  He says the patient numbers are currently at low levels but are not at zero.  He says they are not as high as at the peak earlier this year either.

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