The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new COVID-19 Forecast Hub shows hospitalization and death predictions for Minnesota heading into the fall.
The CDC’s forecast compiles COVID-19 modeling from dozens of teams across the country to create a larger virus forecast, with national predictions and state-by-state breakdowns.
The model predicts deaths will trend slightly downward in Minnesota over the next month and hospitalizations will remain stable.
“It’s actually not good, in my opinion,” said Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious diseases physician at Allina Health. “The last six months have been very stable at a level which I’m not altogether comfortable with. The hospitals are no longer being hammered but we’ve got these people still dying.”
Rhame said he is worried about a fall surge of the virus, with school back in session and people spending more time indoors unmasked.
The CDC’s forecast hub shows predictions for the next four weeks. However, the website notes the models “should not be relied upon for making decisions about the possibility or timing of rapid changes in trends.”
“I personally would expect a fall surge because usually there is for respiratory viruses,” Rhame said.
Rhame said the COVID-19 trajectory would also depend on booster uptake and if any new variants of the virus emerge.
New poll results show a majority of Minnesotans are at least somewhat concerned about COVID-19 heading into the fall.
Our exclusive KSTP Survey USA poll asked 775 Minnesotans how concerned or unconcerned they are about a potential increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming months, with these results:
24% Not Very
20% Not At All
4% Not Sure
“COVID is still around. It’s still something we’re concerned about,” said Melissa Kenevan, a mother from Hudson, who was not part of the poll.
She noted that her level of concern has gone down slightly over the last two years.
“It doesn’t feel as scary, just there was so much unknown at the beginning of the COVID pandemic. But with a little one, there’s still some concern,” Kenevan said.
Rhame said he does not expect major waves like we saw earlier in the pandemic but believes people should still take precautions, such as getting vaccinated and boosted.
“I don’t think it’s going to get that bad again, hopefully will never get that bad again. But people are going to go back indoors more and there’s going to be a lot of kids at school spreading it amongst themselves and that will slop over to those of us who are more vulnerable. A key message is get the new vaccine this fall,” Rhame said.