Mayo doctor who diagnosed first case of COVID-19 in Olmsted Co. talks future of pandemic |

Mayo doctor who diagnosed first case of COVID-19 in Olmsted Co. talks future of pandemic

Devin Martin
Updated: January 21, 2021 10:12 PM
Created: January 21, 2021 09:43 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Almost a year ago, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Southern Minnesota. 

Casey Clements is an emergency medicine physician with Mayo Clinic. He diagnosed the first local case of COVID-19 in Olmsted County. Even though the future of the pandemic is uncertain, he's remaining optimistic. 

"I'm sure there was someone smarter than me doing modeling that figured this might happen but it's been beyond my wildest expectations," Clements said. 

Life changed for Dr. Casey Clements in a blink of an eye. He says we've come a long way with the pandemic, but there's a lot of work left to do.

 "I think people are feeling pretty burnt out from the pandemic, they're feeling pretty done with it and this is actually a really critical time because there is still disease in our community and there is still infection spreading. We need to be vigilant at this point so the downward trend can continue," Clements said. 

Getting the vaccine recently was a highlight for Dr. Clements, although there's one interesting side effect he's had.

"I'm now the designated person to do the grocery runs and run errands for my family because I'm more protected than they are in public spaces," Clements said. 

No matter when he's at work, checking with patients, he feels safe while on the clock.

"I can do things in public, I can take care of patients who I know have COVID, still doing the same safety precautions as we have been but I feel so much more protected," Clements said. 

But before he got vaccinated, he was skeptical.

"I said, yeah I am worried about this and we should be able to talk about that," Clements said. 

But that skepticism grew into trust.

"I think that we should trust the science behind the vaccines. I think they are effective. We should also pay attention and realize 95 percent protected is not 100 percent protected and so out of the 20 people that would have gotten COVID with these vaccines, 19 won't but one still will," Clements said. 

Even though the future looks uncertain, Dr. Clements says if the opportunity arises to get the vaccine, do it so things can get back to normal.

"We should get this shot so we can get out of this pandemic and be back together with those we love," Clements said. 

Starting next week, Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, and Olmsted County Public Health expect to begin vaccinating the next phase of workers.

They are the remaining community healthcare personnel who are not able to telework, such as dentists and hospice workers.

Mayo Clinic says almost 8,000 Midwest Mayo Clinic employees have received their second dose of the COVID-10 vaccine. That is 14.2 percent of the workforce in the Midwest.

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