• By Karl Oestreich

COVID-19 positivity rates continue to improve, but caution still needed over the holidays

December 21, 2020
a Mayo Clinic medical staff person, a young, perhaps Asian woman, in PPE and assisting a COVID-19 patient in bed and monitoring her vital signs

Mayo Clinic’s positivity rate for COVID-19 across its enterprise is at 10%, which is still too high, notes Amy Williams, M.D., executive dean for practice at Mayo Clinic. The rate continues to improve, but we “need to be careful over the holidays” she says and practice good hand hygiene, masking and distancing.

"We have less staff out due to COVID-19 in the Midwest and Mayo Clinic’s Midwest locations have 149 hospitalized patients with COVID-19.," Dr. Williams says.

With the holidays upon us, Mayo celebrates the good news of the arrival of two COVID-19 vaccines.

Watch: Dr. Amy Williams on the latest with the vaccine

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Williams are available in the downloads. Please courtesy: "Amy W. Williams, M.D. / Executive dean for practice/ Mayo Clinic"

"Mayo Clinic has prepared for weeks to be able to receive and deliver these vaccines to our frontline staff who have worked so hard and sacrificed so much these past months to care for patients throughout this pandemic," Dr. Williams says. "We built freezers, trained staff, set up sites and developed safety protocols—spending countless hours to be ready to serve our staff who serve so many others. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we also owe them the opportunity to provide care safely as they continue to put their lives on the line to serve our patients and our communities."

Mayo Clinic is prepared to deliver up to 10,000 doses of vaccine to staff each week and have its staff fully vaccinated within weeks along with their state peers. "Unfortunately, we aren’t receiving an adequate allocation of doses to achieve that goal or anything close to it," Dr. Williams says. "In Week 1, Mayo Clinic received 2,300 doses of vaccine. Of our 39,000 employees in Rochester, this amount vaccinates less than 6% of our workforce."  

Between 9,700-11,000 of those 39,000 staff are frontline COVID caregivers in our acute care settings.

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this article was accurate at the time of posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about: Tracking and trending COVID-19

Dec. 17, 2020 - NEW Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spots