Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility COVID-19 updates, changes Morrison County sees active variant strain cases increase | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors – Active Lifestyle Media

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Senior Living CommunitiesCOVID-19 updates, changes Morrison County sees active variant strain cases increase | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors

COVID-19 updates, changes Morrison County sees active variant strain cases increase | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors


Tuesday, March 30, Morrison County reported seeing an increase in active COVID-19 cases and multiple active cases of the variant strain known as B.1.1.7., which was first identified in the United Kingdom in the fall of 2020 and was detected in the U.S. at the end of 2020.

“Statewide as well as locally, case rates are being driven up by variants of the COVID-19 virus, as well as not adhering to prevention methods,” Morrison County Public Health reported in a news release. “Variants have been identified in Minnesota, and it is safe to assume that it is possible to be exposed to a variant anywhere in the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the variant B.1.1.7 spreads more easily and quickly and may be associated with increased risk of death.

“Gatherings continue to increase risk of getting and spreading COVID-19,” Morrison County Public Health reported, urging people to make safer choices by limiting the number of people gathering and using outdoor space when possible and wearing masks if not everyone in the group has been fully vaccinated, practicing social distancing of 6 feet in the community, wearing a face mask, washing hands often, and staying home when feeling sick and getting tested.

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“It is also critical to get vaccinated when you have the opportunity,” Morrison County reported. “As of March 30, all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine.” Morrison County Public Health is prioritizing vaccine appointments for people most at risk of getting COVID-19, or those who could develop severe illness if infected such as older residents and those with underlying health conditions and in essential jobs. The final eligibility expansion comes as the federal government has promised an increased supply of vaccine by April, the health department reported.

The Vaccine Connector Tool at For more information, call Morrison County Public Health at 320-632-6664.

Lakewood Health’s online COVID-19 vaccine registration list is open to all Minnesotans regardless of medical condition or age as of Tuesday. People must be 16 or older to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and 18 or older to receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“In our continued efforts to improve processes and make care more convenient for our patients and communities, Lakewood Health System has launched an online COVID-19 vaccine registration list. This option is in addition to the call-in wait list already in place. Once we receive your information, our team will contact you to schedule an appointment to get your vaccine when it’s available,” Lakewood Health reported.

To register, visit and fill out the registration form or call 218-894-1515 (option No. 2).

Lakewood reports it continues to see increasing allotments of vaccine weekly.

  • Aitkin — 5,831 with at least one dose; 4,043 with completed series.

  • Cass — 8,702 with one dose, 5,647 with completed series.

  • Crow Wing — 20,009 with one dose; 13,574 with completed series.

  • Morrison — 8,766 with one dose; 6,132 with completed series.

  • Mille Lacs — 7,370 with one dose; 4,692 with completed series.

  • Todd — 5,865 with one dose; 3,766 with completed series.

  • Wadena — 3,848 with one dose; 2,607 with completed series.

The Minnesota Department of Health released an update its guidance for dining and activities for assisted living-type facilities.

“This guidance for assisted living-type facilities will allow residents who are fully vaccinated to dine and participate in activities closer than 6 feet while still wearing masks as appropriate,” the state health department reported, noting it made the change due to lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in assisted living facilities and the higher vaccination rates of residents.

“Due to the real impact we are seeing high vaccination rates have on the spread of disease and serious illness, we as state regulators of assisted living are changing our guidance to allow for more open dining and activities to better meet the needs of residents, families and providers,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm, in a news release.

The guidance change does not include Minnesota’s skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes that serve a higher-risk population. These facilities must follow federal guidance set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Major highlights of the Minnesota Health Department guidance change for assisted living-type facilities include:

  • People who are fully vaccinated can gather indoors to play cards or sit in the dining room, for example, with people living in another unit or household within the assisted living setting.

  • People who are fully vaccinated can gather informally with other unit or household of people who are unvaccinated or who do not disclose vaccination status if everyone follows guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Each apartment in the assisted living or independent living setting is considered a household.

  • Fully vaccinated people can sit closer than 6 feet apart during organized activities and dining in the assisted living setting. The health department recommends each person wears a well-fitting mask when gathering closer than 6 feet, except when eating.

People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after their second dose of a vaccine that requires two doses (like Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after they get a single dose of a vaccine that requires one dose (like Johnson & Johnson).

The updated guidance is available at the webpage at

In other guidance matters, on Monday, March 29, the state health department noted the CDC issued updated guidance for nursing homes and long-term care facilities on infection prevention and control recommendations, including updated information for residents who leave the facility. The health department is actively working to update our guidance to reflect these changes.

“Long-term care residents are now able to gather with friends and family. Residents who are fully vaccinated can even hug their visitors. Residents and their visitors will need to wear a mask and make sure to wash their hands before and after the visit,” the state reported.

“While indoor visits are allowed, outdoor visits are still preferred when possible, because there is generally a lower risk of spreading COVID-19.

“We are glad so many people want to get vaccinated and know that waiting for vaccine is extremely hard right now,” the health department stated in a post. “Vaccine is constantly being made and distributed. Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.

“You can do your part now by continuing to help slow the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask, wash your hands often, stay 6 feet away from other people, and stay home if you are sick. Doing all of these things will help keep people healthy until all Minnesotans have the opportunity to get vaccinated.”

  • Total approximate cumulative completed tests (both antigen and PCR tests): 8,211,019.

  • Total cumulative positive cases in Minnesota; 519,529.

  • Newly reported cases: 1,660.

  • Newly reported deaths: 12.

  • Patients no longer needing isolation: 499,395.

  • Highest number of cases by age: 51,081 cases for ages 20-24. By comparison, those aged 80-84 accounted for 8,301 cases.

  • People with at least one vaccine dose: 1,658,176.

  • People with completed vaccine series: 1,031,749.

  • Aitkin — 1,217 total cases, with 36 deaths; 43% of the county’s population age 16 and older has at least one vaccine dose.

  • Cass — 2,312, with 26 deaths; 37% of residents with at least one dose.

  • Crow Wing — 5,540, with 85 deaths; 39% of residents with at least one dose.

  • Mille Lacs — 2,531, with 47 deaths; 36% of residents with at least one dose.

  • Morrison — 3,643, with 55 deaths; 33% of residents with at least one dose.

  • Todd — 2,597, with 30 deaths; 30% of residents with at least one dose.

  • Wadena — 1,369, with 20 deaths; 36% of residents with at least one dose.

NOTE: These numbers are cumulative since March 21, 2020, and many are out of isolation. Vaccine percentage includes residents age 16 and older who received at least one vaccine dose.The vaccine data is reported as of March 29.

Facilities with cases and exposures of five or more confirmed cases in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period include Aitkin Elementary School, Pillager Elementary School, Brainerd High School, Pequot Lakes Middle School, Healy Secondary in Pierz, Royalton High School, Staples-Motley Senior High.

Congregate care facilities reporting an exposure from a case of COVID-19 in a resident, staff person or visiting provider included: Cuyuna Regional Medical Center Care Center, Edgewood Brainerd Senior Living, Good Samaritan Bethany, all in Crow Wing County; Caley House Assisted Living and Milaca Elim Home in Mille Lacs County; Diamond Willow Assisted Living, Harmony House, Pierz, Highland Senior Living, Pierz Villa and St. Otto’s Care Center in Morrison County; CentraCare Long Prairie Care Center, CentraCare Long Prairie/Meadow Place in Todd County and Lakewood Health System Care Center in Wadena County.

Facilities that haven’t reported a new exposure after a minimum of 28 days are removed from the list, the state reported.


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