The COVID-19 virus continues to be something we live with even though the majority of people who come down with the latest Omicron COVID-19 virus don't get severely ill.  CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris joined me on WJON.  He says the 3 reasons people are more likely to get severe symptoms are age, vaccination status and preexisting conditions.  Morris says vaccinations may not keep someone from getting the virus but it does keep people from getting severe symptoms in most cases.

Dr. Morris indicated they still have people hospitalized with COVID at St. Cloud Hospital but not nearly as many as they used to.  He also says the majority of them aren't sick enough to be placed in the ICU/Critical Care Unit.

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Morris says the COVID that continues to make its way through the community is the Omicron variant.  He says it is more contagious than the common cold and more likely to be severe than the flu.  Morris says CentraCare now has the new bivalent booster available to all people 18+ years of age. He says they've had the booster for the past week and have been vaccinating their employees. Morris says this bivalent booster protects people from the original COVID strain and the new Omicron variant.  He says the booster protects people from getting severe symptoms and others from getting the virus.

This is also the time of year flu shots become available.  Dr. Morris says it is safe for people to get both the COVID booster and flu shot the same day if people choose.  He says side effects of vaccines include soreness around the shot and fatigue.  He says the best way to get information about the booster or flu shots is to contact your primary care provider.  Morris indicates CentraCare is planning flu clinics with more information coming soon.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Dr. Morris it is available below.



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