A Community of Immunity.
On Saturday, January 15, 2022, Mayor Kim Norton issued a mask mandate for the City of Rochester, which the city council approved on Sunday, January 16, 2022. Olmsted County also continues to require masks in all of its buildings and facilities until further notice.
COVID 12+ Pfizer booster clinic in Byron
Olmsted County Public Health Services will be holding a clinic for individuals to receive their COVID Pfizer booster on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Only Pfizer boosters will be administered at this clinic and you must register in advance.
- Date: February 1, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Registration link: https://webapp.co.olmsted.mn.us/VaccineClinicRegistrations
- Passcode for registration: Bears3
- Vaccination location: Byron Middle School, 601 4th St NW, Byron, MN 55920
As of 01/25/22: The COVID Omicron variant cases continue to increase locally, now reflecting a dramatic rise similar to the previous week national curve. The Omicron variant appears to be overall more mild, however because of the sheer number of cases, even a smaller percentage of severe cases are putting significant burden on the health system.
There are many opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available at no cost; however, some clinics and pharmacies may charge an administration fee.
COVID-19 vaccine availability
Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved or authorized in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19. All currently approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce your risk of severe illness.
Based on the latest research, CDC has updated recommendations for individuals who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendation is a clinical preference to get an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). Individuals who are unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine will continue to have access to Johnson and Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. Any COVID-19 vaccine is better than being unvaccinated.
Compare the differences between the COVID-19 vaccines.
Olmsted County COVID-19 vaccine locations
Mayo Clinic: Patients ages five and older are eligible to be vaccinated and patients 12 and older are eligible to receive the booster five months out from their second vaccination. Individuals or parents and guardians can self-schedule a vaccination appointment now:
- Use your Patient Online Services account to schedule an appointment online or through the Mayo Clinic app.
- Call the Rochester campus Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or weekends from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.: 507-538-4040.
- If you don’t have a Patient online Services account, call Mayo Clinic Customer Assistance at 877-858-0398.
If you are eligible to receive a booster dose COVID-19 vaccine, check COVID-19 vaccine options by Mayo Clinic campus.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters visit the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 vaccine information site.
Olmsted Medical Center (OMC): OMC is scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for children ages 5-11. In addition, OMC will be offering pediatric vaccination clinics every Saturday beginning January 15, 2022. To schedule an appointment, call 507-292-7300.
OMC is offering the Pfizer vaccine booster for patients 12+ who completed their primary series with Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J (Janssen). OMC also continues to offer appointments for first and second doses for the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments are available on Thursdays.
Community Health Services: Call the clinic for more information.
Rochester Clinic: Call the clinic for more information.
Olmsted County Public Health Services is providing vaccine clinics. If seeking more vaccination opportunities, OCPHS encourages families to reach out to their primary care provider, check with their local pharmacy, or find a location on the MDH Vaccine Finder website.
Local pharmacies and the State of Minnesota: Individuals can now sign up with the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. The connector will help you find out when, where, and how to get your vaccine. Vax for Kids can help you find vaccine for children 5 to 11.
Vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds
November 22, 2021, Viv Williams from the Post Bulletin moderated a forum with OCPHS Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Amy Evans, Olmsted Medical Center Pediatrician Dr. Peter Arndt, and Mayo Clinic Pediatrician Dr. Robert Jacobson.
Olmsted County residents looking to vaccinate their child can:
- Visit mn.gov/vaxforkids to find clinic locations near you.
- Check with their pediatrician, family medicine clinic, or pharmacy about appointments.
- Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at schools or other community locations around Minnesota.
Before you go, make sure the vaccine location provides the Pfizer vaccine to 5- to 11-year-olds. Not all Pfizer vaccine providers will have the vials specifically packaged for 5- to 11-year-old doses in their supply.
Importance of COVID-19 vaccines for children
COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease and now more of our children have access to its protection. Getting your child vaccinated is the best way to protect them and the people around them. As we prepare to gather with family and loved ones for the holidays, getting children vaccinated is the best way to keep everyone healthy and safe. Now is the time for every family member 5 and older to get vaccinated.
Safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12
The Pfizer vaccine has been carefully studied in children age 5 to 11, just like all vaccines were for people 12 and older. This process is called a clinical trial and all authorized vaccines have gone through it. Only vaccines shown to be safe and effective are authorized to be used.
The Pfizer vaccine was determined to be 90.7% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 disease in children 5 to 11.
Visit mn.gov/vaxforkids, the state’s web page for parents on COVID-19 vaccine for children and teens to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and where to get your child vaccinated.
Olmsted County providers offering the COVID-19 vaccine can now administer boosters to all adults. The Pfizer booster is also available for anyone over 12-year-olds. Providers will check a patient’s immunization history prior to vaccination to ensure that the interval is timed appropriately.
Visit mn.gov/vaccine to find a provider near you. Contact the provider directly to make sure they are offering boosters and to make an appointment.
Minnesotans do not need to get their booster dose at the same location they received their initial series.
What is a booster shot?
COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death. But recent data suggest that protection against infection decreases over time. Health officials have determined a booster shot is necessary to maximize protection once protection from the original vaccine series begins to wane.
People who have received their initial vaccine series (2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) still have protection even once it starts to decline. The booster shot helps get protection back up to a higher level.
What if I am not yet eligible to get a booster?
Do not get a booster before you are due, which is five months after the Pfizer/Moderna primary series (two doses for most people) and two months after Johnson & Johnson dose.
Replacing your vaccine card
Many people received a COVID-19 vaccine card when they received their vaccination. Some did not get a card and others have lost, misplaced, or forgotten to enter the information needed. Individuals who need complete and official proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations have a couple of options:
- If you received your vaccine at a provider or pharmacy, contact the provider directly or use your patient portal and ask to have a copy of your vaccine record emailed, mailed to you, or available for pick up from your provider.
- If you received your vaccine at any provider in Minnesota, use the link to request a copy of your vaccine record from MIIC (Minnesota Immunization Information Connection). This may take 28 business days to process.
- The Minnesota Department of Health has also released the Docket, a free app available for download in Apple and Android app stores, enabling residents to securely view and share their immunization records.
- If you need to update your phone number and address to access your immunization records, go to Find My Immunization Record.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the Minnesota Department of Health recommend people, vaccinated and not, get tested 5 to 7 days after exposure to COVID-19.
Minnesota has worked hard to make it easy and convenient to get tested for COVID-19. It is important to get tested if you:
- Have not received your vaccine yet; and,
- Are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms experiencing symptoms – even if you are already fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 testing options for Olmsted County residents
Residents can call various places to make an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. Below is a list of options for Olmsted County residents.
Mayo Clinic patients: Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-293-9525.
Olmsted Medical Center patients:
Call the COVID-19 Nurse Line at 507-292-7266.
Patients can schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test through the OMC MyChart Symptom Checker. After you sign into your OMC MyChart account, select “Symptom Checker” from the Menu. Testing hours are Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Community Health Services (aka Migrant Health)
Appointments are required – call 507-529-0503 to schedule a time
Hy-Vee – Locations in Olmsted County
- 500 Crossroads Drive SW, Rochester, MN 55902
- 4221 West Circle Dr. NW, Rochester, MN 55901
- 220 Center Town Plz N, Stewartville, MN 55976
Appointments are required.
Register online: www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/services/covid-19-testing
Walgreens - Two locations in Olmsted County
Appointments are required - call 507-206-5132 to schedule a time
Register online: www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing
Compcare Occupational Medicine and Urgent Care
No appointment necessary.
Online Order MDH-Vault
The test kit is shipped directly to your home via expedited shipping. Follow instructions closely: www.learn.vaulthealth.com/state-of-minnesota.
At home test kits
The test kit is shipped directly to your home with four individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
Antigen tests: Antigen rapid tests are best used for screening before going to events or for rostered routine testing. You can receive results as early as 30 minutes after the sample collection.
PCR tests: PCR tests are used for symptomatic individuals, those with quarantine orders and for rostered routine testing. You can receive results as early as 24 hours after the sample collection.
If you have symptoms or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should stay home until you get your testing results.
Keep in mind
- If you know you’ve had close contact with someone who tested positive – in general, close contact means being within about 6 feet of a person who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more throughout the course of a day (24 hours) – the safest option is to stay home and away from others for 14 days. In certain situations, you may end your quarantine sooner. Visit How and When to Quarantine or Isolate for more. (Some work settings, like health care, have different rules about quarantine. Check with your employer.)
- If you have symptoms, or you’ve been advised by your doctor or local public health to stay home and be tested, you should follow their advice.
- If you were tested as part of a screening program or for an upcoming medical procedure, you don’t need to stay home while you wait for your result as long as you don’t have symptoms and haven’t had close contact with someone who tested positive. Given high community spread, it is a good idea to limit social interactions during this time. Be sure to be vigilant about basic COVID-19 safety protocol when you do see others:
- Wear a mask.
- Stay 6 feet from others (social distancing).
- Avoid large crowds.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
If you are attending a gathering, think about the steps you need to take to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19.
While Olmsted County remains in high community transmission, consider gathering virtually or with the people you live with.
- Have a virtual gathering, like a virtual party, concert or sporting event with friends and family.
- If you do gather with people who don’t live with you, gatherings and activities held outdoors are safer than indoor gatherings.
- Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.
- Know what to do if your family has members who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
Gathering in person
If you gather in person, you can take steps to make gatherings safer
- If you are not fully vaccinated and age 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
- In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
- If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- Testing can give you information about your risk of spreading COVID-19.
- Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
- A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
- A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
- Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.
Know how to protect your family if you have members who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.
If you become sick after attending a gathering
- Attending a large gathering or event increases your chance of being in close contact with people outside your household and being exposed to COVID-19.
- People who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested to check for infection:
- Fully vaccinated people should be tested 5–7 days after their last exposure.
- People who are not fully vaccinated should get tested immediately when they find out they are a close contact. If their test result is negative, they should get tested again 5–7 days after their last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.
- Know when to quarantine.