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Thursday September 23rd 2021

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TIPS FROM A COVID-19 CASE INVESTIGATOR

By LINDSEY FENNER

As I am writing this in late April, I have just gotten my first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. After doing pandemic

response work for almost a year, it was an incredibly emotional moment for me, as I know it has been for many people. My tears of joy were matched by the broad grin of the man getting vaccinated across from me, his elation clear through his mask.

But my joy in getting vac- cinated has been tempered by the cold reality of rising COVID cases in Minnesota. At work, we watched the numbers slowly inch up in the month of March, and then saw them pick up speed in April. We don’t know when this latest surge in Minnesota will peak. I desperately hope that by May, the worst will truly be behind us, but right now, as I write this, we just don’t know.

Why have cases been rising again? Perhaps the biggest reason is the growing dominance of the variant strain B117. B117, the variant of concern first discovered in the UK, has torn through Europe, and is now tearing through parts of the US like Michigan and Minnesota. B117 seems to be over 50% more transmissible and likely causes more severe illness than the original COVID variety. And it is now believed to be the dominant COVID strain in Minnesota. What this means practically, is that while there might have been some riskier activities we did before and didn’t get sick, we now are much more likely to get COVID doing the same things. We are also seeing many more cases in children and teens, and more severe illness in younger people. The good news is that the vaccines in the US seem to do a good job against B117. But we all need to take steps to protect folks who aren’t vaccinated yet, or can’t get vaccinated, like children and folks who are immunocompromised. 

Kids should get tested every other week if they are attending in-person school or daycare. They should get tested every week if they are involved in sports or other in-person extra-curricular activities. You may be able to order the MN at-home test, and drop it off  at your child’s school. Check with their teacher or the school nurse.

https://www.health. state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/testsites/athome.html 

• Even if you are vaccinated, you should continue taking COVID precautions in public and in private groups that are mixed vaccinated and unvaccinated. Although protection from the vaccines is phenomenal, it isn’t 100%, and levels of virus spread are currently very very high. 

• Everyone, vaccinated or unvaccinated, needs to stay home if they have COVID symptoms and get tested. 

• If you’ve been waiting to get vaccinated because you think you are low risk, please don’t wait. The protection isn’t just for you. It’s also for everyone who can’t get vaccinated, like people with serious health conditions. 

What you need to sign up for an appointment: • You only need to provide your first name, last name, date of birth and home address • You are encouraged to provide your mobile phone number and email address, if you have them 

What you need for your appointment: • You will be required to wear a mask and comply with social distancing requirements • You need to confirm your first name, last name, date of birth and home address • You do NOT need to provide an ID • You do NOT need to have medical insurance 

Free Metro Transit pass for the day of your appointment is provided in confirmation text message and email 

State of MN COVID-19 Public Hotline 

For questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, call 

1-833-431-2053 
Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
Sat 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Mental Health Crisis Line – Call: **CRISIS (**274747) 

If you’re a Hennepin County resident who has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and needs help remaining in isolation, we can help. Email EssentialServices@hennepin.us. 

Español: Si usted es residente del condado de Hennepin y recientemente dio positivo por COVID-19 y necesita ayuda para permanecer aislado envíe un correo electrónico a essentialservices@hennepin.us. 

Soomaali: Hadaad degan tahay Degmada Hennepin dhawaana lagaa helay COVID-19 aadna caawimaad u baahan tahay si aad ugu sii jirto gooni joogaaga IImeyl u dir essentialservices@ hennepin.us. 

Lindsey lives in East Phillips and has been working a COVID response reassignment in local public health since May 2020. She is very tired. 

. your test results in about 2-3 business

state.mn.us/diseases/corona- virus/testsites/athome.html

• Even if you are vaccinated, you should continue taking COVID precautions in public and in private groups that are mixed vaccinated and unvaccinated.

MORE FREE COVID-19 TESTS NEAR PHILLIPS

Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 Second Ave. S., Exhibit Room B. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays
10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Walk-in accepted,appointments preferred: mncovidtestingappt.as.me

• Native American Community Clinic
1213 E. Franklin Ave
2 p.m. Tuesdays.
Appointments required: Call 612-872- 8086 to schedule an appointment.

Southside Community Health Services
324 E. 35th St.
2-3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Appointments required:
call 612-821-3548 to schedule.

State Fair Vaccination Site
1680 Como Ave, Falcon Heights.

Everyone 16+ who lives in Phillips is eligible to get vaccinated at the community vaccination site at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds
To sign up for a Vaccine Appointment you can either:

• Call 833-431-2053, Mon – Fri 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Sat 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (opera- tors available in multiple languages and can assist in making language/ADA accommodations)

Or sign up on the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to be contacted to schedule an appointment.
Refugees and immigrants needing assistance can call
651-318-0989 Mon-Fri 9a.m. to 5p.m


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