Osterholm: ‘We shouldn’t be surprised’ when we see more Omicron cases

Covid testing.
Covid testing. Photo credit GettyImages

Minnesota's COVID cases are growing to be among the worst in the country, and with the arrival of the Omicron variant, experts expect to see more cases soon.

To discuss just that, Dr. Michael Osterholm joined News Talk 830 WCCO’s Paul Douglas, breaking down what he expects will happen in the state.

There have now been two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Minnesota, and according to Osterholm this is just the beginning.

“We’re gonna see a number of cases over the next couple of weeks, and we shouldn’t be surprised by it,” Osterholm said.

With some test results taking five to 10 days, Osterholm says it is only a matter of time before we see more confirmed cases of the Omicron variant pop up.

When it comes to what Minnesotans can do to protect themselves from the new strain of COVID-19, Osterholm says that minimizing risk is critical. He says getting vaccinated, wearing a mask indoors, and not participating in large gatherings are key.

“We’re surely seeing an uptick in vaccinations right now, but we’re still far, far short of what we need in terms of trying to protect a large segment of the Minnesota population,” Osterholm said.

Getting your first shot and those eligible getting a booster shot are important, Osterholm said, but a large number of the state’s population has still not received their first dose.

“We definitely need to do more here, and I understand people are fatigued and tired. They are done with this pandemic,” Osterholm said. “But the problem is this virus isn’t done with us.”

Many in the state are tired of pandemic issues, and to echo that point, several doctors and CEOs took out full-page ads in papers across the state to stress the seriousness of COVID-19 in hospitals and the toll it is taking on health care workers.

“Our doctors, nurses, and people working in health care are doing everything we can to take care of you when you’re sick,” the ad reads. “And yet every day we’re seeing avoidable illness and death as a direct result of COVID-19.”

The letter, signed by several executives with well-known health care systems like Alina, North Memorial, Mayo Clinic, and Children’s Minnesota, urged Minnesotans to get vaccinated, wear a mask, test if they feel sick, and encourage others to do the same.

“We’re in this together, and we can only finish it together,” the ad says.

Osterholm shared that Minnesota is still a hot spot for the virus in the country right now, being in the top three states in the country in regards to cases and we can’t stop the work we’ve been doing now.

“We’re two years into this thing. People are tired of it. We’re all tired of it. I’m tired of it,” Osterholm said. “The challenge is, however, that doesn’t mean the virus is done.”

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