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Public Health continues to prioritize high-risk individuals for vaccinations

As vaccinations opened Tuesday to all people ages 16 and older across the state, Freeborn County Public Health Director Sue Yost is encouraging residents to remember all options that are available to get a vaccine. 

Yost said Freeborn County Public Health will continue to prioritize those at higher risk of contracting the virus in phase one of the state’s vaccination priority groups, including people age 65 and older, people ages 45 to 64 with health conditions, as well as essential workers in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, restaurant and food processing.

COVID-19 vaccinations are also being offered at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea, as well as local pharmacies. As of Monday, 9,686 people in Freeborn County had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 5,629 had received the completed series. 

Yost said this week the county health department anticipated administering 300 first doses of vaccine and 200 second doses at a vaccination clinic at the Albert Lea Armory. She said the county will continue to offer a clinic on Wednesdays and will schedule others as needed. 

“We anticipate as time goes on we’ll have more vaccines and we’ll be doing larger clinics as we’ll be able to with staff capacity,” she said. 

She said it was her understanding that all of the senior care centers are completed, and the county is helping with vaccinations in the case of new residents or staff. 

The county is accepting calls from businesses regarding vaccinations for their employees. She said a business can contact Public Health directly and then Public Health staff can schedule the vaccinations for the employees, or a business can have its staff sign up on the county’s waiting list. 

Yost said so far Public Health has not had any difficulty filling its clinics, and county staff have not had anyone who has had a severe reaction to the vaccine. She said there have been a few people who had minor reactions, such as feeling light-headed, but generally people have handled the vaccine well. 

The county has administered mainly Moderna vaccines, though it occasionally receives small amounts of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

She said youth ages 16 to 18 will need to get the Pfizer vaccine and will need to set up those appointments through other sources, as the the county has not received Pfizer vaccine from the state. 

She reminded people that is important to wear masks even if they are vaccinated, as well as washing hands well and maintaining social distancing.


COVID-19 cases update

Freeborn County reported 14 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, according to the daily update from health officials. 

The county has now had 3,080 cases since the start of the pandemic. Information has not been released yet on the new cases or how many cases remain active. 

The following is an update on other area counties:

  • Faribault County: five new lab-confirmed cases; 1,379 total cases; 4,271 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 2,772 had received the completed series.
  • Mower County: five new lab-confirmed cases, one probable case; 4,366 total cases; 14,034 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 7,521 had received the completed series.
  • Steele County: 23 new lab-confirmed cases, two probable cases; 3,345 total cases; 10,603 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 5,772 had received the completed series.
  • Waseca County: nine new lab-confirmed cases; 2,211 total cases; 5,307 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,282 had received the completed series.