Mayor Jim Hovland issued the following letter to the community Jan. 9, 2022.
Dear Edina Friends and Neighbors,
WE NEED HELP FROM YOU FOR A BETTER 2022.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidance in late July regarding the Delta variant and masking. That guidance is based on the sum of cases in the last seven days per 100,000 population. When the sum reaches 50 cases or more per 100,000, masking is recommended inside public settings, regardless of a person’s vaccination status.
Last week, Edina’s COVID-19 case rate reached an all-time high – more than 15 times the rate considered to be “high transmission.” Edina’s seven-day total new cases per 100,000 Dec. 29 through Jan. 4 was 821. It is likely even higher today.
Currently, in cases for which details are provided, data show the majority of cases are in unvaccinated people. “Unvaccinated” includes those who have not received any COVID-19 vaccine, those who have an incomplete vaccine series and those who have been fully vaccinated for less than two weeks.
The healthcare system is experiencing significant stress right now from the sharp increase in these COVID-19 infections. On Friday, there was just one open ICU bed available in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area and fewer than 10 pediatric ICU beds, according to Bloomington Public Health.
The Omicron variant is now considered the dominant variant in Minnesota, accounting for 68 percent of cases in the state. The CDC continues to reinforce that the strongest defense against the Delta, Omicron and other variants of the disease is through vaccination, proper use of a facemask, avoidance of crowded spaces, good hand hygiene and staying home when sick.
A few days ago, the Edina City Council held a special meeting to discuss the issue. We discussed the possibility of reinstating a mandatory mask policy like Minneapolis and St. Paul, but ultimately decided not to do so. Instead, we approved a resolution for community protective measures.
The City will work proactively with our partners at Bloomington Public Health to provide masks, testing and vaccine options to residents of our community. The resolution asks residents to wear appropriate face coverings that can deal with the fine particles of Omicron, maintain social distancing in public places, wash hands regularly and get fully vaccinated to reduce the spread and negative impacts of COVID-19. Data from the United Kingdom show that people who have received three vaccinations are 88 percent less likely to require hospitalization than the unvaccinated.
Choose masks that:
- have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric,
- completely cover your nose and mouth,
- fit snugly against the sides of your face with no gaps, and
- have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out the top.
Do not wear masks that:
- are made of fabrics like vinyl that make it hard to breathe or
- have exhalation valves or vents that allow virus particles to escape.
If you wear a gaiter, make sure it has two layers or fold it to make two layers. Face shields are not recommended because their effectiveness is not yet known.
Please do your part to protect yourself, your family, friends and neighbors. Wear a mask and get your booster shot or get vaccinated. Let’s have Edina known as the “most boosted” community in the state of Minnesota!
WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER, BUT WE NEED HELP FROM ALL OF YOU FOR A BETTER 2022!
James B. Hovland