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Jeremy Olson

Reporter | Newsroom

Jeremy Olson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter covering health care for the Star Tribune. Trained in investigative and computer-assisted reporting, Olson has covered politics, social services, and family issues.

A University of St. Thomas graduate, Olson completed fellowships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, Poynter Institute and New York Times. Honors include a Premack Public Affairs award for scrutinizing a schizophrenia drug trial, a SABEW award for uncovering abuses of meatpackers, and a Casey Medal for examining deaths in foster care. His Pulitzer-winning series on child care led to a decline in child deaths. Olson and his family live in Edina.
Recent content from Jeremy Olson
Psych associates are planning a one-day strike May 24 because of pay and safety concerns at Allina and Fairview hospitals. They made their announcemen

Mental health workers set one-day strike at Allina, Fairview hospitals

Safety is a priority for newly unionized workers, along with benefits to stop people from leaving the profession.
Health officials urge more COVID-19 testing to quickly identify infections and qualify people for antiviral and monoclonal antibody treatments that ca

Hospitalizations, COVID wastewater levels creeping up in Minnesota

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising along with infection numbers, but some involve patients with mild or asymptomatic cases.
The ambulance bay at M Health Fairview’s Masonic Children’s Hospital has been converted into temporary shelter for children dropped at the ER beca

Kids in crisis being dropped at the ER doors overwhelm Mpls. hospital

Masonic Children's created a makeshift holding unit in an ambulance bay to try and meet the demand.
The number of COVID-19 patients in Minnesota requiring intensive care rose to 36 on Monday. The state is seeing more hospitalizations as coronavirus s

368 COVID-19 hospitalizations reported in state as cases rise

Increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations comes amid substantial growth in coronavirus infections in Minnesota.
Patients including lined up, with many waiting for over two hours, to get tested for Covid-19 at the People’s Center Clinics & Services in Minneapol

Need for COVID-19 testing in Minnesota has shifted with pandemic

Anybody that wants a test can get a test for COVID-19 these days, but the purpose and value is different after two years of the pandemic.
John Hoeschen, owner of the St. Paul Corner Drug, prepared second COVID-19 booster doses for Gov. Tim Walz and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in St.

21 Minnesota counties listed as moderate, high COVID-19 risks

Olmsted and Wabasha counties dropped out of the high-risk range after one week, but Pennington is now at the level that carries a mask recommendation.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, left, and Gov. Tim Walz received their second COVID-19 booster doses at St. Paul Corner Drug in St. Paul on

Gov. Walz, Malcolm receive second COVID-19 boosters

The governor and health commissioner promoted the shot for vulnerable populations as variants persist.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing in Minnesota, but only 7% of the infected patients on Monday needed intensive care — the lowest rate in the

COVID-19 hospitalizations above 300 in Minnesota, but severity lower

Share of admitted patients requiring intensive care is at the lowest in the pandemic in Minnesota.
Elsie Freeman, right, was Minnesota’s youngest liver transplant recipient last fall. Health officials are investigating whether her liver failure is

Mystery pediatric hepatitis cases investigated in Minnesota

Cases include Minnesota's youngest-ever liver transplant recipient and another child awaiting transplant.
Minneapolis is recommending wearing masks again to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Infection and hospital rates have reached high enough levels for the

More COVID in wastewater, but 'downturn' on severity of illness

The state appears on the leading edge of an increase in U.S. pandemic activity, but infections haven't translated into more severe cases.
Mask-wearing in public, indoor places is being recommended once again in Minneapolis in response to rising COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Mpls. recommends masks; two counties in high COVID range

Minneapolis said a local uptick in hospitalizations is enough to warrant indoor use again, but Hennepin County remains at a low risk.
Burnout after the COVID-19 pandemic is a key concern as the Minnesota Nurses Association and Twin Cities hospitals negotiate a new three-year contract

Retention top concern for Twin Cities hospitals, nurses amid negotiations

Pay, benefits, safety, staffing all on the table, but this time through the lens of COVID-19 and its impact on hospital nursing.
An estimated 75% of children through age 11 have antibodies indicating previous coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control a

6 in 10 Minnesotans have had COVID-19, according to estimates

Federal estimates show breadth of impact from the winter omicron COVID-19 wave, but not necessarily protection against what's next.
New guidance from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force encourages people 40 to 59 with elevated cardiovascular disease risks to consider daily aspi

New aspirin guidance influenced by Minnesota research

HealthPartners modeling helps show certain age groups benefit from daily aspirin more than others.
Nurse Alexandria Kilby hooked up a monoclonal antibody infusion to patient Donna Hipsher in St. Luke’s Emergency Department in Duluth.

Twin Cities wastewater shows steady COVID-19 increase

Sewage sampling, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are gradually rising, but severity of Minnesota's next pandemic phase unclear.
Dr. Dimitri Drekonja, center, a Minneapolis infectious disease specialist, encouraged people to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and to wear

COVID infections back above Minnesota's high-risk threshold

Health officials watch for uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths after April increase in infections.
The first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore rec

Mayo expert backs COVID-19 vaccines despite having possible side effect

The leader of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group suffered tinnitus, or persistent ear-ringing, after his second COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Respiratory therapist Abdul Ali, center, worked with critical care nurses to prone an intubated COVID-19 patient on Nov. 12, 2021, in an intensive car

ICU cases drop amid signs of Minnesota COVID-19 uptick

Most severe hospitalizations peaked with the delta coronavirus variant and have declined in 2022.
The Rev. Michelle Hargrave hugged her son, Zane, as husband Kelly and daughter Liz looked on. Brain fog and fatigue were common challenges for weeks a

Long COVID making pandemic even longer in Minnesota

A statewide survey may help health officials who are debating what long COVID means, who is susceptible and how many people have it.
COVID-19 cases in Minnesota could increase slightly in the next two weeks, according to Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 predictive model.

Omicron subvariant dominates COVID-19 levels in Minnesota

Wastewater and genomic sequencing data agree the BA.2 subvariant is the primary source of coronavirus infections in Minnesota.
A COVID-19 virus made from a pin cushion decorated the entrance of the ICU at Regions Hospital in St. Paul in late 2020.

Vaccine helps reduce heart attack deaths among COVID-19 patients

Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation saw a decline in such deaths in 2021, but primarily in the vaccinated population.
Maxine Bogan gave Jean Butala of Bloomington her second booster shot on March 31 at the community vaccination site at the Mall of America. The CDC is

Should you get a second COVID-19 vaccine booster?

Clinics are seeing an uptick in vaccination appointments after updated CDC guidance, but some newly eligible Minnesotans question the timing.
M Health Fairview nurse Tami Schimnoski prepared a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.

Omicron 'stealth' subvariant takes over in Minnesota

Sampling over the past week found that the BA.2 omicron subvariant accounted for 72% of the viral load in Twin Cities wastewater.
Minnesota doctors hope the latest evidence will compel people to use proven COVID-19 therapies that reduce hospitalizations in the event of another pa

Brazilian study finds ivermectin an ineffective COVID-19 treatment

Results from a University of Minnesota clinical trial of ivermectin are nearing publication, but a Brazilian study shows the drug did not prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Saliva COVID-19 testing will remain at community sites such as the one at MSP airport, while the state phases out a mail-in testing program and offers

Minnesota offers free at-home COVID-19 tests this week

The state's shuffle in its pandemic monitoring comes during a lull in COVID-19 cases but ahead of a possible wave.
Drive-through COVID-19 testing and other pandemic responses siphoned staff and resources from medical groups in 2020.

Clinical care suffers during pandemic in Minnesota

Most clinics saw their performance grades decline in 2020, but Minnesota Community Measurement as usual found some performed better than others.
COVID-19 vaccine has remained protective against severe illness and death, and health officials are urging people to stay up to date with their shots

Coronavirus levels low, but rising in Twin Cities wastewater

Sampling found the first weekly increase in coronavirus levels in metro wastewater since early January.
Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccination progress, including the second-highest rate of booster shots among states, has been credited with helping to ease t

Minnesota milestone: A day of zero COVID-19 deaths

COVID-19 deaths have lingered after pandemic waves, but latest trends are favorable for Minnesota.
Respiratory therapist Abdul Ali, center, worked with a team of critical care nurses to move an intubated COVID-19 patient onto their stomach on Nov. 1

'Safest time in many, many months' to gather amid Minnesota COVID dip

All indicators show sustained declines in COVID-19 activity in Minnesota, but that doesn't mean the pandemic is over.
Pharmacist Dr. Jennifer Riss and pharmacy student Elise Moore stocked a single box of COVID-19 at-home tests that had just arrived at Cub Foods Pharma

In Minnesota, home testing expands beyond COVID-19

Comfort with home tests during the pandemic has Medica hopeful that members will embrace test for kidney disease.
Morgan Smith, a phlebotomist, drew blood while Corrin O’Gara, a respiratory therapist, administered nebulizer therapy to Janet Monno on Tuesday at M

Aid helps Minnesota hospitals, but staffing crisis looms

Minnesota hospitals received $879 million in public funds in 2020, but face post-pandemic problems without that increased emergency support.
A combination of COVID-19 vaccination and recent infection have produced an estimated 70% community immunity rate in Minnesota.

Health officials asking when will pandemic reset to endemic?

Case numbers, wastewater surveillance and hospitalizations are all moving in the right direction, but COVID-19 vaccination has stagnated.
Overwhelming numbers of COVID-19 patients at hospitals this winter delayed patient care and likely contributed to Minnesota’s excess death numbers i

Minn. 2021 death toll well above expected total despite vaccine

More than 5,000 COVID-19 deaths in the state last year account for most of the increase.
Proximity to highways is one factor elevating the estimated number of deaths related to air quality problems in the Twin Cities area.

Pollution deaths down amid gains in Twin Cities area air quality

Disparities mar report showing fewer Twin Cities deaths linked to poor air quality in 2015 compared with 2008.
Dr. Richard Palahniuk was Minnesota’s first identified COVID-19 case two years ago. He eventually recovered, here walking with his wife, Patti, in V

Two years into the pandemic, COVID remains a step ahead

Treatment options and tracking of COVID-19 have dramatically improved, but the pandemic keeps shifting, and public fatigue is fraying Minnesota's response.
COVID-19’s pressure on hospitals has eased since mid-December, when the emergency department at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids was so full that nurse

CDC drops most of Minnesota out of COVID-19 high-risk range

COVID-19 test positivity rate in Minnesota drops below caution threshold for first time since Aug. 2.
Severe COVID-19 illnesses have declined in the past month in Minnesota, easing the pressure on hospitals and reducing the number of pandemic-related d

Minnesota ends February with sharp decline in COVID-19 deaths

Numbers are incomplete for February, but match other indicators of a declining pandemic wave in Minnesota.
COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide were at 557 on Friday, a decline of 52% since Feb. 8.

CDC change reflects declining COVID-19 risks in Twin Cities

Switch to measuring county COVID-19 risk levels by hospital burden brings federal approach in line with state pandemic response.
More than 12,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Minnesota, the Health Department reports.

COVID-19 deaths decline as Minnesota emerges from omicron wave

COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign increased immunity levels during record viral spread
About 250 people gathered at the State Capitol in St. Paul last September to show support for abortion rights and protest Texas’ ban on abortions af

Whole Woman's Health clinic resumes abortions in Bloomington

The clinic's goal is to improve abortion access in Minnesota and in other states with new or planned restrictions.
Overcrowding has eased in Minnesota since mid-December, when rising COVID-19 cases compelled nurses to treat patients in the ER hallways at Mercy Hosp

COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 1,000 in Minnesota

Pressure on Minnesota ICUs abates as influenza season appears to peak as well.
Nurse Christie McLachlan worked on a COVID-19 patient’s medical logs Feb. 8 in an intensive care unit at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsda

Vaccine effective in Minnesota, but omicron presents a challenge

The second week of January saw more COVID-19 deaths among the vaccinated, but risks remained higher in those who were not.
Minnesota COVID-19 ICU cases have declined this month, easing the pressure on hospitals.

Severe COVID at lowest levels in months in Minn. hospitals

Mask-wearing and social distancing increased during the omicron pandemic wave but decreased after the peak.
A decline in COVID-19 admissions has reduced pressure on Minnesota’s hospitals, suggesting a peak to the latest omicron pandemic wave.

COVID-19 indicators are improving in Minnesota

Rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations fall on the downside of omicron pandemic wave.
Ambulances lined up outside the emergency department at United Hospital in St. Paul.

Metro hospitals halt ambulance diversions amid COVID-19 crush

Overuse of ambulance diversions during the pandemic has led to constant closing and reopening of ERs that left EMS crews and patients frustrated.
The number of COVID-19 cases requiring intensive care have declined this month in the omicron pandemic wave. However, doctors warn that ICU cases rema

Severity of COVID-19 lessening in Minnesota hospitals

Predictions proved true: Omicron variant was less severe, but its unprecedented spread increased hospital numbers.
Mayo Clinic’s predictive COVID-19 modeling indicates a peak in infections is days away in Minnesota, but infections and hospitalizations will contin

Mayo warns omicron peak means Minn. only halfway through surge

Modeling suggests that Minnesota's COVID-19 case rate will hit a peak in the next week, but active infections are likely already declining.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota are close to finishing a study of whether ivermectin and two other drugs with anti-inflammatory benefits ca

U ivermectin trial in treating COVID nearing completion

Proof of effectiveness would give doctors outpatient COVID-19 therapies amid limited antiviral and antibody supplies.
Unvaccinated Minnesotans make up 33% of the state’s population but 64% of COVID-19 deaths and 72% of COVID-19 hospitalizations since May.

Breakthrough COVID cases in state show vaccine effectiveness

New data released Monday shows that fully vaccinated Minnesotans made up 55% of infections reported in the week ending Dec. 25, but only 26% of deaths.
Zach Bakke, 8, of Minnetonka posed for a photo on a selfie wall after getting a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 2 at Mall of America in Bloomington.

COVID-19 vaccination rate drops for kids in Minnesota

Vaccine hesitancy, holiday breaks and appointment hassles reduced first-dose vaccinations in children 5-11.
State leaders urge people to seek COVID-19 tests from reputable clinicians and Minnesota’s free sites.

Minnesota sues two companies over suspect COVID-19 testing

State health leader urges people to use reputable COVID-19 test providers amid signs of declining demand, peak in pandemic wave.
Mayo Clinic’s lab processed a record 41,000 COVID-19 tests from its Midwest providers last week, and its pandemic modeling suggests a peak in infect

Mayo model foresees omicron peak in Minnesota next week

A quick peak to Minnesota's fifth pandemic wave would be welcome news in a state that on Tuesday reported another 10,651 infections and 29 COVID-19 deaths. The peak could come as early as Saturday or as late as Feb. 1.
COVID-19 hospitalizations requiring intensive care have declined over the past month even as total hospitalizations have increased. Health officials r

COVID-19 hospitalizations back above 1,600 in Minnesota

Omicron surge is taxing COVID-19 testing resources, prompting CentraCare to pause testing asymptomatic people.
The busy COVID-19 free testing site at the Minneapolis Convention Center temporarily will move to U.S. Bank Stadium next week.

Minneapolis Convention Center COVID testing site temporarily moved to U.S. Bank Stadium

Testing will resume at the convention center Jan. 24.
Monoclonal antibody infusions have grown scarce since two types were discontinued last month because they aren’t effective against the omicron varia

Minnesota removes race as factor in rationing antibodies

The new guidance for distributing scarce COVID-19 treatments came just as a conservative group challenged the state's old rules.
In front of Regions Hospital in St. Paul on Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced actions to support Minnesota hospitals as the COVID-19 omicro

Walz announces funding for hospitals to weather omicron

State leaders expect a surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations this month but hope for less severity, ICU demand.
People waited in long lines to get tested for COVID-19 last Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Test appointments at this and other Twin Cit

COVID-19 test hoarding in Minnesota limits appointments

Scarcity also raises risks of scams, and the Better Business Bureau is looking into one startup testing company with sites in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday reported 255 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, and 1,180 COVID-19 patients in regular hospital beds in

Minnesota hospitals brace for omicron wave even as COVID-19 declines in ICUs

Number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care declines as health officials await impact of expanding omicron wave.
Troy Chang, 9, watched cartoons Friday while recovering from severe COVID-19 as his mom, Linda Vang, checked his breathing and feeding tubes at HCMC i

Boy's COVID journey reflects rare but rising omicron risk

Nine-year-old is making progress but remains in intensive care at HCMC after severe COVID-19.
Pharmacist Jennifer Riss and pharmacy student Elise Moore stocked a single box of COVID-19 at-home tests on Wednesday at Cub Foods Pharmacy in St. Lou

COVID-19 positivity rate in Minnesota reaches record 15.6%

Minnesota is reporting a record 15.6% positivity rate for COVID-19 tests conducted in the seven days ending Dec. 30. Several factors contributed to increase in test positivity, and the fast-spreading omicron variant is one of them.
Kelly Ayd, health services supervisor for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District, showed the cabinet inside Carver Elementary School in

Test-to-stay works in Rochester schools, but supplies are needed

Rochester was an early adopter of method to keep children in classroom after possible coronavirus exposures.
State Health Commissioner Jan Malcom addressed COVID-19 infections in Minnesota along with Gov. Tim Walz at a long-term care facility in Maplewood on

At-home testing limits Minnesota COVID-19 surveillance

Growth in over-the-counter tests for coronavirus infections has reduced reporting of positive cases amid omicron wave.
People waited in long lines Tuesday to get tested for COVID-19 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Minnesota adding 3 COVID-19 testing sites as omicron surges

Gov. Tim Walz will highlight efforts to reduce hospital pressure by deploying specially trained National Guard members to nursing homes.
COVID-19’s pressure on hospitals has eased a bit since mid-December, when the emergency department at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids was so full that

Minnesota's COVID-19 rate drops to 30th amid U.S. omicron surge

Positivity rate of COVID-19 testing has increased as Minnesota weighs impact of holidays, latest variant.
Dr. Hsieng Su, Allina Health’s senior vice president and chief medical executive, replaces hand sanitizer bottles as part of the Helping Hands volun

Minnesota volunteers take routine burdens off COVID-strapped hospital workers

Minnesota's Allina Health received overwhelming interest from volunteers to take on nonclinical tasks that would otherwise take care teams away from patients.
Dr. Arden Virnig checked in on COVID-19 patient Dena Leikvoll, who was being treated with monoclonal antibodies Oct. 21 to help her recover at Mille L

Omicron now 'dominant' for new COVID cases in Minnesota

Omicron is projected to be involved in more than half of new coronavirus infections in Minnesota, making two types of monoclonal antibody infusions less effective.
Physical therapist Sarah Schnarr placed a blanket over the lap of COVID patient Jen Bollig, 47, during a physical therapy session Monday at HCMC in Mi

Minnesota COVID patient gets Christmas wish: a vaccinated family

The Cushing, Minn., mother of five was admitted to HCMC with an uncertain chance of recovery and now spends her days working toward returning home to her family.
M Health Fairview nurse Terry Tran administers a COVID-19 booster shot into the arm of Mona Abdullahi, 28, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 at the Brian Coyle Cen

Minnesota's COVID-19 rate falls as delta wave surges in the Northeast

Health officials caution against overconfidence in a holiday period that could fuel more infections.
Minnesota leaders are commending vaccination progress one year after nurse Thera Witte was one of the first recipients at the Minneapolis VA Medical C

7 COVID-19 cases in Minnesota linked to omicron variant

State commends vaccination progress one year after it became available, but is wary of current wave, future variant risks.
Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.

Fairview plans psychiatric hospital at Bethesda site

Standalone hospital proposal comes with concerns over access, involvement of publicly traded Acadia Healthcare.
Hand-written warnings indicate rooms in the emergency department of St. Cloud Hospital outfitted with negative airflow systems to prevent the spread o

State's COVID death toll tops 10,000 in grim milestone

Health officials say vaccine hesitancy, waning immunity and mitigation fatigue combined to make 2021 a severe year for COVID-19 deaths.
Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids has admitted the most COVID-19 patients in Minnesota this fall.

Surgery delays grow severe amid COVID-19 hospital crowding in Minnesota

Hospitals have deferred procedures to free up beds amid coronavirus wave, leaving some patients in prolonged pain.
Respiratory therapist Spirya Andrews, back center, works with critical care nurses and assistants to rotate a critically-ill COVID patient at North Me

Minnesota sees post-holiday COVID-19 surge, hopes for peak

Breakthrough infections help fuel continuation of COVID-19 wave in Minnesota, where more vaccinations and boosters are urged.
Terry Reynolds, of Plymouth, prayed Wednesday at the bedside of his wife, Carolyn, critically ill with COVID-19 in the South Seven Intensive Care Unit

Unvaccinated patients filling Minnesota intensive care units

North Memorial's South Seven ICU shows how the unvaccinated are suffering even as vaccinated COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are increasing.
Gov. Tim Walz hands challenge coins to Jackson, 9, and Makenna Spiekermeier, 5, after they received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at Century C

Vaccinations urged ahead of holidays as COVID-19 fills Minn. hospitals

State leaders acknowledged that vaccination appointments are becoming scarce, partly because of a shortage of health care providers to administer shots, but urged people to be persistent.