Kittson County continues vaccination effort, UK variant arrives in county

 

Content Providers(s): CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS Photo Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Recently a 39-year old Kittson County woman with no underlying health conditions not only contracted COVID-19 virus, but reached a physical state that influenced her to have to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. As of April 23, she had been down there for about 10 days.

“She’s quite significantly, ill. I mean, she’s making some good progress now,” said Cindy Urbaniak, Kittson County Nursing Home Administrator and Director of Public Health. “But she won’t be returning probably back to the community for about another month, possibly.”

This had an impact on the county, explained Urbaniak.

“I think people kind of were scared. I mean, I think they were nervous about her situation,” Urbaniak said, “thinking that, ‘Why her?’ Most people in their 20s and 30s think, ‘Well, I’m young. I’m healthy. I can get through this virus. It’s not going to affect me.’ Well, this isn’t the case for her.”

Urbaniak believes this situation influenced some people to be more aware of the possibility of they themselves not coming through COVID very healthy and ending up with significant, potentially long-term health issues. She also believes it led to another reaction.

“That increased our interest (in the vaccine),” Urbaniak said. “… Our list of people to be vaccinated wasn’t very long, and then it spiked up to about 75 (to) 80 people here the last week and a half or so after people were hearing about her health situation. But now, we’ve kind of caught up with that list.”

Urbaniak discussed the latest Kittson County COVID vaccine numbers, how the vaccination process has recently been going, Kittson County’s vaccine supply and demand situation, side effects reported so far, and the latest COVID case numbers. Urbaniak also reported that the COVID United Kingdom (UK) variant had reached Kittson County.

As of April 23, Urbaniak highlighted how the county had administered to 1,386 people— those having received at least one dose— with approximately 1,360 of those having received their second dose, Urbaniak estimated.

A total of 53 percent of Kittson County individuals over 16 years old have received at least one dose and 81 percent of Kittson County residents 65 and older have received at least one dose. These numbers don’t include those Kittson County individuals who got vaccinated in North Dakota. Urbaniak said they were working on counting up these numbers, but provided an estimate of about 400 people on this list.

Since the state opened up the vaccine to all those 16 years of age and older on March 30, Urbaniak explained how the county has been working with Kittson County schools to get information out to parents of 16-year-old and older children.

“We have had a number of kids under the age of 18 who’ve gotten vaccinated, even 18-year-olds,” Urbaniak said.

Those high school seniors who are 18 can sign their own paperwork to get the vaccine. Those students under 18 require a parent consent form in order for them to get vaccinated.

As for COVID cases, as of April 23, Kittson County reported 43 new ones since April 1— a “significant” number for the area, Urbaniak said. She added how a “fair” number of these cases— about half— were linked to within a family.

Kittson County continues to work to administer vaccines as cases, including that of the UK variant, remain in the county.

To see the complete story, read the April 29 issue of the North Star News in print or online.

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