Cass County health officials say a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Cass County is a reminder that despite the recent good news about vaccinations and declining disease rates, COVID-19 remains a concern this summer for those who are not yet vaccinated.
The Cass County cluster includes 25 cases with onset dates between May 12 and June 3, according to a news release from Cass County Health, Human & Veterans Services.
So far, officials have found 15 cases in Pine River, seven cases in Backus, two in Longville and one case in Pequot Lakes. Four of the cases have been hospitalized, and one person has died, the news release said.
The cases range in age from 5 to 74, with a median age of 35.
"The best way to put an end to this pandemic pain all across Minnesota is for everyone to get vaccinated when they are eligible. But if you are not fully vaccinated yet it’s incredibly important that you protect yourself and others by doing the preventive measures that we’re all so familiar with by now."
— Jeri Seegmiller, county team leader for Cass County Health, Human & Veterans Services
Almost all the cases involved unvaccinated people who attended gatherings, school or social activities while infectious. The 25 cases are of the P1 or Gamma variant. Statewide, Minnesota has seen an increasing number of P1 variant cases, with 360 total to date.
“The best way to put an end to this pandemic pain all across Minnesota is for everyone to get vaccinated when they are eligible. But if you are not fully vaccinated yet it’s incredibly important that you protect yourself and others by doing the preventive measures that we’re all so familiar with by now,” Jeri Seegmiller, county team leader for Cass County Health, Human & Veterans Services, said in the news release.
“That includes masking, social distancing, staying home when sick and getting tested when appropriate,” she said.
Per the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine data, Minnesota’s overall vaccination rate stands at 66% of people 16 or older who have received at least one dose.
In Cass County, the vaccination rate for people 16 and older who have received at least one dose is 51%, with some communities ranging between 34% to 48%, and other communities ranging from 60% to 80%.
“The vaccines are safe and effective, and in addition to protecting you, they protect your family, your neighbors and others in your community,” Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said in the news release. “We get vaccinated to protect those we love, and to help bring an end to the disruption and worry this virus has caused for so long.”
Cass County Public Health continues to offer COVID-19 vaccinations, including Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, in many locations throughout the county. Per Centers for Disease Control and state guidelines, Cass County Public Health is vaccinating all eligible people ages 12 years and older, regardless of county of residence.
For more information and/or how to register for a free COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Cass County website at www.co.cass.mn.us/covidclinic.