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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A top Mayo Clinic official today reported what she described as "hopeful" COVID-19 statistics, but at the same time, she stressed the need for everyone to continue protecting themselves and others from the virus.

Dr. Amy Williams is the Executive Dean of the Mayo Clinic Practice in the Midwest and this afternoon provided an update on the organization's response to the ongoing pandemic. Her report included a drop in both the number of Mayo Clinic patients testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalized in Mayo Clinic facilities throughout the Midwest due to the new viral illness.

Systemwide, the number of COVID hospitalizations in the Midwest fell from about 300 a week ago to 181 as of today. In Rochester, over 100 COVID -related hospitalizations were reported a week ago and that number today was reported at 83. Doctor Williams says prior to yesterday the Rochester Mayo Clinic hospitals had not seen the COVID hospitalizations count drop below 90 for quite some time.

Positive test results among Mayo Clinic patients in the Midwest were also down from a week ago but Dr. Williams noted there is some concern because the number rose from 305 on Sunday to 381 on Monday, which could be due to the predicted post-Thanksgiving surge. She also reported the testing positivity rates among Mayo Clinic patients have stabilized in nearly all of the healthcare provider's Midwest locations. The only exception is southwestern Wisconsin, where the positivity rate is over 20-percent.

The pandemic's impact on Mayo Clinic staffing levels has also moderated in the past week. The percentage of Mayo Clinic staff in the Midwest absent from work due to COVID-related reasons fell from 2.2-percent to two-percent, which represents just under 1100 of the Mayo Clinic's 55,000 employees across the region. 676 of those staff members are absent due to COVID-19 exposures.

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