The hospitalized COVID-19 numbers within CentraCare are up and more alarmingly the ICU/Critical Care numbers have increased at a higher rate.  CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris joined me on WJON this week.  He says they have 20 ICU/Critical care unit patients at St. Cloud Hospital with half of them on ventilators.  Morris says they have a total of 57 COVID-19 patients within CentraCare with 42 of them at St. Cloud Hospital.  He says a big difference this week is the addition of more COVID-19 patients at Carris Health - Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and additional patients at Sauk Centre and Monticello CentraCare facilities.  Morris says all but 6 of the hospitalized people are unvaccinated. He says the 6 vaccinated hospitalized people are all over 70 years old and none of them are in the ICU/Critical Care unit.  Morris says 15 of the 57 hospitalized people are under 50 years old.

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Dr. Morris says they are seeing an increase in the amount of people seeking and getting COVID-19 vaccinations in the past week.  He says the vaccine continues to be the best defense against the virus.  Morris says a 3rd dose or booster of the vaccine is currently available for immune system compromised individuals and suspects that a 3rd dose/booster will be available for those who received their vaccine back in December or January.  Morris says they are waiting on recommendations from the CDC.

Morris says CentraCare continues to see a shortage of employees and these additional surges puts an added burden on those who've been putting in lots of hours in the past year and a half serving COVID-19 patients.  Morris urges people to consider using Urgent Care as an alternative when emergencies present themselves as to not overwhelm the Emergency room.

If you are interested in a COVID-19 vaccination Morris encourages you to contact CentraCare online or call 320-200-3200.

If you are interested in hearing my 2-part conversation with Dr. Morris it is available below.



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