12-15 COVID-19 Update: Minnesota Case Positivity Rate Lowest Since End of October
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Tuesday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 72.8 million cases since start of pandemic; 1.62 million deaths
- In U.S., 16.6 million cases since pandemic began (up 262,000 – new one-day record); 301,000 deaths (up 1,300)
- In Minnesota, 384,164 total confirmed cases (up 2,340 cases on testing volume of about 32,000)
- Last time there was a day with fewer than 3,000 cases was 6 weeks ago.
- Of the 384,164 cumulative cases, 351,820 (92%) no longer need isolation
- In Minnesota, 4,483 total deaths (up 21)
- Of the 21 newly reported deaths, 11 were residents of long-term care/assisted living facilities
- Currently, 1,309 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, 300 in intensive care units (ICUs).
- 7-day case positivity rate is 10.9%, continuing a modest decline.
- lowest 7-day rate since last week of October
- MDH expects to see true data outcome from possible Thanksgiving gatherings four weeks later (this would be around Christmas Eve).
- 3-4 weeks is a typical lag factor in data. Incubation period of virus is two weeks, plus factor in time to get tested and receiving results back.
- MDH recommends people to get test 5-7 days after know exposure.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann:
- 183,000 doses expected by year’s end (includes Pfizer and expected Moderna doses)
That’s only enough doses to vaccinate about one-third of Minnesota health care workers by mid-January
- 2,000 Pfizer doses delivered Monday. State using “hubs” to distribute vaccine throughout Minnesota
- Vaccine distribution at VA hospitals is part of federal doses, not counted in state total.
- Minnesota expects to receive Pfizer 46,800 doses by week’s end
- Training to administer vaccine taking place this week. Giving out shots to health care workers expected end of this week or early next.
- “We want to make sure that we are reminding people to be patient in the midst of our excitement,” said Ehresmann. The vaccine to general population likely won’t be until spring.
- FDA expected to approve Moderna vaccine later this week (Thursday). Minnesota expects to receive more of the Moderna vaccine than the Pfizer version.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- This is the final week of business restrictions (4-week “pause” expires Dec. 18). Governor Walz expected to provide update this week, possibly Wednesday.
- Any easing advisable? “We continue to look at the data,” said Malcolm. “We are encouraged by the trends we’re seeing,” but notes MDH would like to see downward trend over longer duration.
- CDC put out report on mask wearing. Report says there are benefits not just to others, but the mask wearer as well.
- MDH says people less likely to wear masks during social gatherings as opposed to retail settings. Social gatherings people also spend more time together, said Ehresmann, contributing to greater likelihood of virus spread.
- On bars and restaurants reopening in violation of state’s executive order — Malcolm: “We do know from national, international data that these just by their nature [are] higher-risk environments,” said Malcolm. “It doesn’t mean to suggest that businesses are doing a bad job.”
- “It shouldn’t be that these businesses have to bear the brunt,” said Malcolm on not being able to open for indoor customers. It’s why business relief is important, she said. It shouldn’t be pitting business survival vs. protecting health. “We need to be able to do both,” said Malcolm.