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Sanford Health doctor gives update on COVID patients, vaccine rates among employees

Coronavirus

In a Zoom update on Thursday, Sanford Health reported that five of its 14 ICU beds in Bismarck are occupied by COVID patients and that the hospital is treating a total of 43 COVID cases.

Sanford Bismarck’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Meeker says that overall, more than 90 percent of employees are now vaccinated and others have taken their first dose. He doesn’t expect Sanford to lose many employees because of the hospital’s vaccine mandate.

He also spoke about herd immunity.

“We may not ever be able to reach herd immunity through infection or through vaccination. So, what that means is at this point, COVID’s likely never going away; it’s going to stay endemic within the community and so what we’re hoping is that it either ends up similar to a flu or even more optimistically, may end up like the other COVID viruses that are already in the community and so what most people end up with is a cold,” said Dr. Meeker.

Meeker says he is hopeful the new Pfizer COVID-19 pill that minimizes the effects of COVID may soon be approved for use.

Right now, the treatment to limit COVID effects needs to be administered through infusion.

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