Severe COVID-19, flu cases decline, easing pressure on Minnesota hospitals – Star Tribune

by | Jan 26, 2023 | COVID-19

Declines in severe COVID-19 and flu cases eased pressure over the past week on Minnesota hospitals as they cope with a workforce shortage and patients with other health needs.

Only 378 COVID-19 cases filled inpatient beds in Minnesota hospitals on Monday, the lowest count since Oct. 15, according to Thursday’s weekly pandemic update. New coronavirus infections also dropped below 600 per week in Minnesota for the first time since last April, despite the emergence of an XBB viral variant that might evade vaccine- and infection-induced immunity.

The progress defies historical patterns in which the holiday season increases the spread of germs and infectious diseases. It also coincides with this weekend’s shutdown of four state COVID-19 testing centers in the Twin Cities and Duluth as Minnesota turns more of the diagnostic and treatment responsibility of the pandemic over to clinics and pharmacies.

While the testing sites were a “cornerstone” of the state’s early pandemic response, “COVID-19 tests will continue to be widely available to Minnesotans from a variety of sources,” said Dr. Brooke Cunningham, state health commissioner. Options include a virtual test-to-treat app by which people can show results of at-home tests and receive prescriptions for COVID-19 antiviral therapy.

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