COVID-19 cases continue to grow across Minnesota, so much so that both Minneapolis and St. Paul reinstated mask mandates in public spaces. This went back into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 6.

At that time, Duluth officials had no intention of reinstating a mask mandate within the city, but that changed when Duluth City Councilor Terese Tomanek announced her intention to introduce an emergency ordinance that would put a similar mask mandate back in play in public places within Duluth city limits. On Friday, that ordinance received support from the Duluth's two primary health care providers.

According to a press release from Essentia Health, the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm health care resources. Therefore, leaders from Essentia Health and St. Luke’s publicly applauded Duluth City Councilor Terese Tomanek for her intentions and she has their support.

They add that the highly transmissible omicron variant is spreading across our region, threatening to once again shut down or significantly impact many aspects of our daily lives. The reiterate that wearing a mask in public is great tool to help mitigate the negative effects as they reduce the transmission of respiratory droplets which helps protect yourself and those around you.

“We understand that people are tired of wearing masks,” said Dr. Nick Van Deelen, Co-President/CEO & Chief Medical Officer at St. Luke’s. “We are all tired of wearing masks, yet they are an important tool in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of all residents, as well as all industries that are severely struggling with high employee infections, including health care systems, please support the mask mandate.”

Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
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Put simply, COVID-19 is straining resources and both hospitals, along with many across the country, are facing daily capacity concerns which is impacting the ability to provide the kind of timely care patients expect and deserve. Duluth area doctors and nurses are exhausted and they need our help and this is an easy way to provide a little.

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Essentia Health says the overwhelming majority of hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated, so getting the FDA approved vaccine is another great weapon against the worst effects of COVID-19.

St. Luke’s and Essentia encourage residents to reach out to their city councilor to let them know they support the proposed mask mandate: duluthmn.gov/city-council.

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