(KNSI) — CentraCare Health is asking the community to mask for the next two to six weeks to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the St. Cloud area.
CentraCare Physician Incident Commander for COVID-19 Dr. George Morris says the infection rate is rising at a rate never seen before.
“We see a positivity rate of over 33%. That means that one in three people who come to test with us is positive. We see the number of cases that we identify is about two and a half times higher than in November 2020 when we were really hit hard by this peak of this wave.”
He says the ommicron variant hit because the region was in the later stages of the delta variant wave and the hospitals were already full.
“And now with the Omicron tsunami wave, our hospital is even more crowded, we have more patients now, more cases now more positive numbers than before Christmas.”
dr. Morris tells the public, local leaders and policy makers that two to six weeks of intensive action will save lives.
“We are looking at the decision to save 1,100 lives of Minnesotans. To do that we need masking. Yes, we can look at the treatment options. Yes, we can look at promoting vaccines and boosters. But right now we’re looking for masking. Universal masking with the best possible quality or a well-fitting mask is one way to really stop this peak.”
Officials say masking is the fastest way to stop the spread right now.
“I ask each of you as leaders in our communities, and as members of our communities, to wear masks indoors in all environments where you are not with your own family,” said Dr. Morris.
According to CentraCare, masking for two to six weeks would curb the spread in the community and provide some relief to an overwhelmed medical community.
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