MDH COVID-19 briefing: Uptick in cases associated with UK variant, continued vigilance needed

Tuesday, Minnesota health officials provided the latest update on the state’s COVID-19 situation and vaccine distribution efforts.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann preached the need for continued vigilance to prevent another spike in COVID-19 cases.

That’s particularly due to the COVID-19 variants that have been detected in the state. Ehresmann noted that MDH’s public health surveillance noticed an uptick in cases associated with the U.K. variant. At last count, Ehresmann said Minnesota had 40 cases of the U.K. variant and two of the Brazilian variant.

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The variants are known to spread to others more easily, thus the added importance of continued vigilance in following health guidelines to keep the variants from getting a stronger foothold in the state.

The good news is that Minnesota should reach the milestone of 1 million vaccines administered this week. Malcolm and Ehresmann said federal officials continue to express confidence that states’ vaccine supplies will ramp up in the coming weeks.

However, with winter storms affecting parts of the country, Ehresmann said some vaccine shipments are being delayed, possibly including to Minnesota, which could force some changes in vaccination plans over the next week.

Click the video box above to listen to Tuesday’s entire briefing.