ST. PAUL (AP) — Minnesota health officials say the state is dealing with a rising number of whooping cough cases this year.
The Department of Health says in the first five months of 2012, 670 cases of pertussis were confirmed. That’s more than the total number of cases for all of 2011. In the Twin Cities metro, the most populous county, Hennepin, leads the way with 219 cases.
Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Thomas Boyce tells KARE-TV the hospital usually does about a dozen pertussis tests per week. In the past three weeks, that number has ranged from 41 to 63 tests a week.
For infants, whooping cough is potentially fatal, because they aren’t fully immunized yet. The ailment spreads through sneezing and coughing.
Tentative agreement for 8 Twin Cities hospitals
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Workers at eight Twin Cities hospitals have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract.
The union represents 3,500 nursing assistants, technicians and support staff. Its negotiators met with hospital representatives all day Wednesday, a day after 91 percent of union members voted to authorize a strike.
Details of the agreement won’t be released until after union members have a chance to vote next week.
The Star Tribune says wages and benefits were key issues in the negotiations, including a proposal by the hospitals that would have increased workers’ out-of-pocket costs for health insurance.
The Service Employees International Union Healthcare Minnesota represents workers at Bethesda, Fairview Riverside, Fairview Southdale, Methodist, St. John’s, North Memorial and Children Hospitals in Minneapolis and Children’s Hospital in St. Paul.