Edina Public School Students grades K-5 are now back to in-person learning and I am hearing reports things are going well (and that several teachers have been able to access their first vaccines)! Welcome back to our teachers and students!
COVID-19 trends in Minnesota are headed in the right direction, with case numbers and positivity rates heading downward. The vaccination process also continues to improve, with distribution efficiency increasing, and the federal government increasing the supply of doses.
It's likely there will be changes in Minnesota and nationwide in the coming weeks and months to improve vaccine distribution.
As of today, 569,164 Minnesotans have received their first dose of the vaccine, and 162,132 have completed the vaccine series.
Health care workers and long-term care residents – continue to receive the vaccine through their workplace, care facility, or local public health department. Minnesotans age 65 or older and educators are also now receiving the vaccine. Educators, school staff, and child care workers will receive information from their employers. Those 65 or older can find vaccine providers in your area and more information here. If you pre-registered for the COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program, you’ll be notified if you’re chosen through the random selection process.
Many in our community have expressed their frustration with not being able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. I share your frustration, and appreciate your patience and understanding while our public health experts work as quickly as possible to get the vaccine out to those most at-risk.
Although Minnesota has not officially moved into the next phase of the distribution process, MDH has accelerated plans to make the vaccine available more broadly. These plans include:
The reality we are facing is that both of these initiatives are still very limited in scope because of the limited supply of the vaccine.
The good news is, the federal government announced that they will increase the supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses shipped to states by 16 percent over current levels for at least the next three weeks. Minnesota is expected to receive nearly 11,000 additional doses each week under the new allocation.
We have seen extraordinary demand for the vaccine in Minnesota, and we are working with a variety of providers to create a strong network of choices for Minnesotans when it’s time to get their vaccine. Every dose Minnesota receives puts us one step closer to crushing COVID-19, which is why we need to move quickly.
Please keep an eye on the MDH website (https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/) for the most up-to-date information.
However, we must remain vigilant and continue our efforts to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Osterholm shared several concerns with the House Health Committee this week, including the emergence of new COVID-19 variants that could mean that the worst of the pandemic is still in front of us. He also stressed the importance of continued mask wearing, physical distancing and avoiding crowds, and discussed the need for individuals to protect their mental health.
You can watch the presentation here.
Dr. Michael Osterholm also recently recommended a strategy he supports would be to move to a single-dose vaccination process where the second dose is not canceled but postponed to give older and at risk Minnesotans a chance to get vaccinated and receive the protections more quickly. No decision has been made on this possible strategy and the plan at this time remains for Minnesotans to get both vaccines.
Testing remains a critical part of our strategy combating COVID-19, and there are currently more than 20 testing sites located around the state, all of which offer no-barrier access to testing. Appointments can be made here.
Vaccine distribution got off to a slow start throughout the nation, but Minnesota is making improvements every week as we receive more doses from the federal government. A new online vaccine locator map is available to help Minnesotans more easily find and connect with local vaccine providers. This map will grow as the federal government sends Minnesota more doses. Another helpful resource for information about COVID-19 is https://mn.gov/covid19.
We all want things to get back to normal, and getting the vaccine when it’s your turn, along with wearing a mask, social distancing, and staying home if you’re sick will all help us close this chapter quicker.
Please continue to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-296-4363 with your input or questions. You’re welcome also to follow me or ‘like’ my official Facebook page for additional updates.
Thank you for the honor of representing our Edina residents and families in the Minnesota House!