11-24 MN COVID-19 Update, State Health Officials: ‘These Vaccines Will Be Safe’
Situation Updates for the Thanksgiving weekend from the Minnesota Department of Health 11-24-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will hold a conference call today to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
Scheduling note: This is the only MDH media briefing call scheduled this week.
Note about data updates for this week:
In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Situation Update for COVID-19 will not be updated on Thursday, November 26. Updates will resume on Friday, November 27 with data from Wednesday, November 25. The weekly report will be released the afternoon of Friday, November 27, and all other data will be posted at 11 a.m. as usual.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 59.7 million cases worldwide since start of pandemic (up 548,000); 1.4 million deaths (up 9,000)
- In U.S., 12.4 million cases since pandemic began (up 172,000); 257,000 deaths (up 900)
- In Minnesota, 282,916 total confirmed cases (up 6,423 over prior reporting day on testing volume above 53,000)
- Of the 282,916 total cases, 233,847 (83%) are no longer considered infectious
- Case counts have dropped slightly in recent days, but “no reliable trend just yet.”
- In Minnesota, 3,303 cumulative deaths (up 38).
- Of the 38 newly reported deaths, 23 involved residents of long-term care or assisted living
- One of the deaths was a Dakota County resident in his/her 30s.
- 360 deaths in just the last 7 days
- Hospitalizations to COVID-19 in Minnesota: 1,828 patients, 379 of those patients require intensive care.
- Both numbers are highest so far for Minnesota.
- Hospitalizations have increased 144% since beginning of month. Health officials reported 748 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Nov. 1.
- 7-day testing positivity rate is 14.3% (down from 15.2% a week prior)
MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff
- Asking people to make plans for testing, review options that work best for them.
- MDH lists testing options on its website.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 includes sore throat, cough, fever, chills, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell.
- People with mild symptoms should consider state’s Test at Home program.
- Says program has been “wildly successful”
- People with moderate to severe symptoms should NOT visit MDH community testing sites. They should call their doctor or clinic/or go to a hospital.
- Best time to get tested is five days after known exposure. Need to stay home for 14 days after an exposure to someone that tested positive for COVID-19, even with negative test result and not experiencing symptoms.
- Urges people to schedule appointments at testing sites, including state community testing sites.
- Also encourages people working at retailers open during 4-week dial back period to get tested “given how quickly virus is spreading.”
- Consider getting tested at first week of dial back period (starting Nov. 21) and then again during final week (Saturday, Dec. 12 – Friday, Dec. 18)
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Test turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours with Test at Home program, said Huff. Nasal swab sites are 48 to 72 hours, he said.
- If families get tested and then gather for Thanksgiving holiday. “You could be infected and even infectious” even with a negative test. It all depends on the viral load in your system at time of test. A negative test “is not a get-out-jail free card,” said Huff. People could be getting tested too soon. Only really safe way, said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at MDH, is if you got a negative test and then quarantined for 14 days. Says if family members outside immediate household insist on gathering, defying Governor’s Executive Order, they should wear a mask and social distance.
- More on guidance for Thanksgiving holiday: Minnesota Department of Health Safer Holiday Celebrations website page.
- “Overwhelming participation” from Minnesotans with at-home saliva testing at state lab, said Huff. Says state has caught up. State capping daily amount at 12,500 tests to ensure 24-to-48-hour turnaround times.
- On people not wanting to get vaccinated: “These vaccines will be safe,” said Ehresmann, noting the research that has gone into these vaccines. Federal government efforts to speed up the time frame to distribute the vaccine is more on logistical side, said Ehresmann, not the speeding up the efficacy of the research. Manufacturers are expected to follow all the proper FDA protocols, working directly with regulators, says nothing on that front will be compromised. Clinical trials have been consistent with other vaccines used over last 15 years, said Ehresmann.