CentraCare Spokesman Dr. George Morris joined me on WJON today for an update on Covid-19 at St. Cloud Hospital and within CentraCare.  He says St. Cloud Hospital is still beyond full but not worse than they were last week.  Morris says the most critically ill patients in Central Minnesota are being hospitalized at St. Cloud Hospital and at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.  He says less ill but still needing to be hospitalized patients can be moved to CentraCare locations in Monticello and Sauk Centre.



Dr. Morris says the CentraCare staff continues to work long hours with some nurses and staff changing day to day responsibilities to help the many sick Covid-19 patients.

A Covid-19 vaccine is on the way.  Dr. Morris says they are equipped to offer the vaccine when it becomes available.  Morris says the vaccine will be rolled out in 4 tiers with subcategories in each tier.  He says the first tier will include health care workers and senior citizens living in long term care facilities.  He says a 2nd tier will include senior citizens 65 and older not living in long term care facilities.  He says the 2nd tier will likely start in March.  Morris says a vaccine available for everyone in June is an aggressive time line but he's optimistic to have the vaccine available to everyone at some point this summer.  The Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine needs to be stored in an extremely cold environment and they are prepared to handle that.  Morris says "I believe we can deliver this vaccine in quick fashion".

A listener asked Dr. Morris how long someone can be shedding the virus.  He says a Covid-19 positive person isn't likely to shed virus 3 weeks after contracting it.  Morris says the belief is that the length of immunity someone has is 3 months for those who have had the virus and recovered.

Dr. Morris joins me every week on WJON.  Look for the conversation to be posted in podcast form with it airing on WJON every Saturday between 7:10-7:50 a.m.  This conversation can also air Fridays from 8:10-8:50 a.m.

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