Is North Dakota out of the woods with COVID-19 yet?

“The end is in sight.”
Coronavirus(Associated Press)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:02 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Today marked the third consecutive day without any covid-related deaths in North Dakota. NDDOH reported just 121 new cases, which is a much different reality from the holiday surge many experts warned us about just one month ago.

“But why did it occur in other parts of the country and not here? Was it totally people’s behavior or was it something else? Did we do a better job maintaining some of that social distancing? Doing less travel? That’s going to be a lot harder to answer,” Essentia Health’s Dr. Richard Vetter said.

Vetter says he feels like North Dakotans have done a much better job at doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and urges to continue that behavior for just a few more months as those in Category 1B can start getting vaccinated next week. Vetter says he estimates the group will take around four to five weeks to complete.

“Then we’ll be in the 65 with medical conditions and then over age 65,” Vetter explained.

Dr. Vetter says he expects everyone will have had a chance to get vaccinated by May or June.

“If we can get through the spring, I think we’ll be in a totally different spot” he said.

While the May/June timeline does seem like a long ways out, Vetter says the culprit is the double dose needed to be effective.

“If it was one vaccine, we’d be making a lot quicker progress. This two-vaccine separated by 21 or 28 days is going to take a lot longer than people think it should. It’s not like getting the flu shot where you come in and bam, you’re done, move on to the next patient,” he said.

However, Vetter also says the timeline could change as there are new vaccines coming up the pipeline, on top of North Dakota continuing to lead the nation in vaccine distribution.

“When we get the vaccine, we give it, not store it,” Vetter said.

He adds it’s patience and hard work that will get North Dakota across the covid finish line

Both Essentia Health and Sanford say those in each vaccine priority group will be notified on their online medical chart platforms in the days and weeks before a patient is eligible. There, patients will also be able to claim the date and time to receive the first dose of the vaccine.

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