10-26-2020 COVID-19 Update from MN Governor Walz and MDH
MN Governor Walz & the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update for 10-26-2020
TODAY: Governor Walz to Participate in Daily COVID-19 Response Briefing
On Monday, October 26, 2020, Governor Tim Walz and other state officials will participate in the COVID-19 media briefing to provide updates on Minnesota’s response to COVID-19.
- Met with White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Deborah Birx in Rochester. “The Upper Midwest is at a critical juncture,” Birx said. Testing of asymptomatic people is the key, she said. People that don’t know it are spreading it.
- “We’re at a critical point in the COVID-19 fight,” said Walz. But, he said, “COVID fatigue is real.”
- “The work that we’ve done has made a difference,” he said, pointing to the state’s hospital and testing capacity.
- Minnesotans will very shortly be able to take a test without leaving home (using the Oakdale mail order lab).
- Wearing a mask and socially distance during gatherings is a good idea, especially as we approach the holiday season.
MN Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 43.2 million cases since start of pandemic; 1.16 million deaths
- In U.S., 8.7 million cases since pandemic began (up 83,000 cases over weekend); 225,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 135,372 total cases (up 1,578)
- 5,000-plus confirmed cases over weekend
- 19th consecutive day with 1,000-plus cases.
- Of the 135,372 cases, 120,421 (89%) are no longer consider infectious
- In Minnesota, 2,353 total deaths (up 4)
- Age breakdown of new deaths: 2 in 70s, 1 in 80s, 1 in 90s
- Minnesotans hospitalized with COVID-19: 582; Minnesota in intensive care: 149
- Started October with over 300 people in Minnesota hospitals.
- 7-day case positivity rate is 6.5% (up from 5.8% last week)
- “Speed of case growth is really something notable,” said Malcolm, noting that case growth is climbing faster than rate of testing.
- “Case growth is driven by community transmission,” said Malcolm.
- More than 70-wedding related outbreaks since June resulting in 650 primary cases.
- Schools and areas of education also an area of concern, said Malcolm. 27% of K-12 schools with at least 1 case. 33 with more than 5 cases.
- Maple Grove High School, Park Center IB World School and Providence Academy in Plymouth among schools listed 5 or more cases
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann:
- “You shouldn’t rolling the dice that your case will be mild,” said Ehresmann. A single case infects 3 other people on average (between 2.4 and 4.0 additional infections per one single case).
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Other nations have done it, in fighting back the virus, said Walz. “We have no national strategy,” he said, but Minnesota has a fighting chance to avoid out-of-control spread. “If we have the will, we can significantly slow this,” said Walz, referring to masking and socially distance efforts.
- Governor, would you consider dialing back reopening measures? I asked Dr. Birx these questions as well, said Walz. There’s a false sense of confidence with social gatherings and family gatherings. “We’re not seeing massive spread in retail settings,” said Walz.
- If we can get 95% compliance with social distancing and masking, results will be dramatic, the governor said.
- “We have tools in our toolbox we have not fully utilized,” said Ehresmann, noting that using current tools are “so much less painful.”
- Malcolm: data indicates Minnesota is slightly less than national average when it comes to masking.
- Walz: There has been no discussions about closing schools and youth sports in mid-November. Same goes for closing bars/restaurants.
- “Our goal is to keep students back in school,” said Walz.
- Spikes in cases – about 2,200 here, compared to 6,000 in Wisconsin — don’t want to reach that level, said Walz.
- When we have this level of community spread, “it just keeps getting harder and harder
- High transmission rates among high school athletes? “It’s also all the other ancillary activities that go along with it,” said Malcolm.
- 3,410 cases associated with youth sports
- 593 cases with high school sports
- 309 cases with middle school sports
- 7,000-plus contacts had to be isolated
- 2 confirmed outbreaks (1 with volleyball and 1 with soccer)
- What would you say families getting ready for Thanksgiving? Dr. Birx talked specifically about this. “The holidays are ripe for fueling further spread,” said Malcolm. “Think twice about gatherings outside your immediate household.”
- “We still control our own destiny here,” said Walz.