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Mayo Clinic, Olmsted County officials talk about improving COVID-19 metrics

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Public health officials and experts were short and to the point during a briefing Thursday saying everything is trending in the right direction when it comes to the pandemic.

"We're seeing some of the lowest numbers of new infections and deaths across the country that we've seen in many, many months so far and in some cases, since the beginning of the pandemic. And I think, probably due to a variety of reasons but vaccination playing a huge role in that as well," said Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Mayo Clinic.

The focus has now shifted to finding out who still wants and needs vaccines that are readily available.

"We may have people that might be interested in vaccine if they have more information or easier access. And we do know that there is a piece of the population as well, and we want to acknowledge that, just aren't going to be interested in vaccination," said Graham Briggs, Olmsted County Public Health Director.

One key takeaway from the meeting was that COVID-19 vaccines will not disrupt children's regular immunization schedules.

"Kids attending summer camp, and certainly for kids returning back to school in the fall, it'll be really important that we make sure that all of our kids are fully immunized against all the other vaccine preventable illnesses," said Rajapakse.

They also mentioned vaccinated children are able to skip quarantine in the event of an exposure.

"If you've got, say, a son or a daughter that's gonna be playing summer soccer, and they're 13 or 14, there's a chance they're gonna end up getting quarantined and there's a chance they can end up getting COVID, but if they're vaccinated, they just go right back to practice the next day, everything's fine, and life goes back to normal," said Briggs.

Olmsted County Public health is continuing its vaccination clinics.400 doses were administered to 12-15 year-olds Thursday. 75% of eligible Olmsted county residents have received at least one vaccine dose, while 68% have been fully vaccinated.

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Noah Caplan

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