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Vaccinations rise locally along with Covid cases

After a summer of no mandates — only recommendations — and declining numbers of Covid-19 infections as more and more people were vaccinated, rising cases of the virus have officials worried about another wave of infections.

The next wave in the Northland won’t be the same as last year, because more than 70 percent of adults are vaccinated here. Nationally this wave of Covid infections — many of them the more transmissible Delta variant — is affecting mostly the unvaccinated. But the unvaccinated are not only those who choose not to get a shot, it also includes children under the age of 12, for whom none of the vaccines have been approved yet.

Casey Johnson, Carlton County public health nurse and Covid subject matter expert, told the Pine Knot News that Carlton County is following the CDC recommendation: to mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission of Covid. As of Aug. 9, Carlton County reached that classification.

On the bright side, Johnson said the county is seeing increased vaccination rates along with a rise in new cases of Covid.

She did not know how many of the new cases here were in vaccinated versus unvaccinated people. “The most recent report is 99.9 percent who are fully vaccinated are NOT contracting Covid-19,” Johnson said, citing the July 28 media briefing by the Minnesota Department of Health, “This means less than 0.1 percent of cases are ‘breakthrough cases’ (for vaccinated people).”

According to the MDH, with the Delta variant, fully vaccinated people may be able to pass the disease to others. However, fully vaccinated people are less likely to get infected, and if a vaccinated person gets infected, the illness will likely be mild. The vaccine also greatly reduces the chance of hospitalization and death.

Carlton County cumulative cases on Thursday, Aug. 5 were at 3,571, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. On Tuesday, Aug. 10, the county reported 3,605, an increase of 34 new cases.

Reports by zip code are released by the state every Thursday, so the information is not as recent. On Aug. 5, the state reported the largest number of new Covid case increases came in Cloquet (55720), with 17 new cases. In Esko (55733) three new cases were reported and Carlton (55718) reported two new cases.

No new deaths have been reported since July 28; the cumulative Covid death total for the county remains at 58.

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