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CORONAVIRUS

Throughout the pandemic, rural health care facilities have been overwhelmed, and an already strained workforce is partly to blame. According to Brad Gibbens, acting director of the Center for Rural Health at UND, workforce is the most important policy issue in rural health, especially nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday, Jan 20, in Hennepin County District Court, the restaurants and bars asked a judge to nullify the Minneapolis vaccine rule, arguing the policy is an undue burden on businesses that already suffered from restrictions earlier in the pandemic. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include a Minnesota Jimmy John's franchisee and several Minneapolis bars including downtown's Gay 90's.
The seven-day rolling average positive test rate remained at 23.7% on Friday.
In the Northeast, which saw some of the highest case loads during the latest surge, infections are down 36% week-over-week. The drop was more modest at the national level, with the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases falling 1% as of Wednesday, according to the Reuters tally.

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Newly reported COVID cases in Becker and Clay Counties have more than tripled over the past three weeks. In the week of Jan. 4, Clay County reported 304 new cases during the week, in the week of Jan. 18, those weekly totals increased to 963. Active cases in Becker County requiring isolation have increased from 76 on Jan. 4 to 241 on Jan. 18. Also, the state reported an additional 78,355 COVID-19 cases this week, a 19% increase compared to the previous seven days, totaling 1,193,504 for the entire pandemic. Also, 98 new deaths were reported by the state in the last seven days, a decrease of 57% compared to the previous week, totaling 11,037 for the entire pandemic. Statewide COVID-19 data is not being released on federal holidays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The seven-day rolling average positive test rate reached 23.7%.
When given early, lab-engineered antibody infusions have reduced COVID-19 hospitalizations among persons at high risk. Previous versions of these treatments do not appear to work against the omicron variant, however. Replacement products are in short supply, with providers given a few dozen treatments weekly while managing hundreds of new patients.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said that the state planned to file suit against Illinois-based companies Center for COVID Control LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory Inc. Combined, the groups ran eight Minnesota testing sites in Eagan, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester and Virginia. Ellison said the state received numerous complaints from patients and former employees about the testing sites.
After dipping slightly in late December, the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 started to grow again amid a wave of new cases driven by the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus.
Gov. Tim Walz announced that the first round of staffing support teams was set to move out to 23 hospitals.

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The CDC clarified on its website "that people can choose respirators such as N95s and KN95s, including removing concerns related to supply shortages for N95s."
U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record high this week after steadily increasing since late December, according to a Reuters tally, while Omicron overtook Delta as the dominant variant of the coronavirus.
The gigantic wave of Omicron infections has disrupted plans for students and teachers to return to school and for workers to go back to the office.

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