10-28 COVID-19 Update from MDH: ‘We Are in a Strengthening Winter Storm’
MN COVID-19 Halloween Guidance & Update from the Minnesota Department of Health 10-28-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Wednesday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 44 million cases since pandemic began; 1.17 million deaths (up 8,179 deaths)
- In U.S., 8.85 million cases since start of pandemic (up 74,000); 227,000 deaths (up 989 deaths)
- In Minnesota, 139,444 total cases (up 1,916 cases on 18,000 tests)
- Of the 139,444 total cases, 123,529 (89%) are no longer considered infectious.
- In Minnesota, 2,387 cumulative deaths (up 19 deaths)
- Age breakdown of newly reported deaths: 2 in their 70s, 13 in 80s, 4 in 90s.
- 643 now hospitalized in Minnesota with COVID-19 (up 37 over prior day and an increase of 103 more patients in last week)
- There’s now a higher hospitalization rate than prior peak in May, however still fewer people in ICUs.
- 71 outbreaks associated with weddings in Minnesota that resulted in 674 primary cases. One wedding guest died, that person attended outdoor ceremony and indoor reception.
- “We share this information certainly not to shame people,” said Malcolm, but to alert others that “the risk is real.”
- 7-day case positivity rate is at 6.5%. This is expected to continue to climb, said Malcolm, because rate has one-week lag period.
- Took Minnesota 2 1/2 months to reach 13,000 cases, but added 13,000 cases just in last 7 days.
- These latest numbers show “we are in a strengthening winter storm,” said Malcolm.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann:
- MDH released guidance for Halloween
- “A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask,” said Ehresmann.
- Any person who has COVID or exposed to someone with COVID should not be attending any festivities or handing out candy.
- MDH also has information for safe voting.
- Health experts have previously compared in-person voting to going to the grocery store.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- On test result turnaround times, national labs tend to take longer, said Malcolm. Not just COVID tests going through these labs, especially with other fall illnesses.
- 48-72 hours is considered a good turnaround time
- State’s saliva testing aims to reduce turnaround times.
- On Halloween guidance, moderate risk is less than 15 minutes of exposure to someone outside your household, minimal contact and minimal surface contact. Is all this really necessary? “CDC in their guidance is trying to help people recognize that an activity in which you are going from door to door and exposing yourself to multiple individuals that are not part of your household and taking things from those individuals, I think they’re saying, ‘you know what, the multiple elements of that, make that a higher risk activity,” said Ehresmann.
- “They don’t say thou shalt not,” Ehresmann said on CDC guidance, they’re just saying if you’re looking at levels of risk, going trick-or-treating would be something they would recommend against.
- Latest information on people testing twice: “This is something that’s being looked at across the country,” said Ehresmann. People who have tested twice have gone through rigorous testing that involves genome sequencing. “It’s something we’re aware of and looking into.”
- CDC doesn’t consider positive tests happening twice within 90 days a repeat situation.
- Aren’t seeing lifelong protection with this virus, but trying to better distinguish a second positive test and a lingering infection.
- MHD has investigated 125 instances, haven’t been able to determine if it’s a second infection. Haven’t been able to prove re-infection with anyone in Minnesota.
- Globally, there has been 10 instances where re-infection has been documented.
- MDH working on planning for targeted rapid tests for people ages 18 to 35. Trying to find asymptomatic people to break chain of transmission. Would use rapid Abbott BinaxNOW test.
- “We’re just early in the logistical planning of it,” said Malcolm. Testing reliability.