2-11 Minnesota COVID-19 Update: Case Rate Falls to 3.9%, Lowest Since June; Vaccinations Racing Against Variants
2-11 COVID-19 Update from Minnesota Department of Health
The Minnesota Department of Health will hold a conference call Thursday to brief members of the media on the latest vaccine and health information regarding COVID-19.
To watch the full briefing, click here.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- In Minnesota, 470,803 total cases since start of pandemic (up 907 over previous reporting day on lab testing volume of more than 44,000)
- Of the 470,803 cases, 456,849 (97%) are no longer considered infectious
- In Minnesota 6,343 total deaths since pandemic began (up 24 deaths)
- Of the 24 newly reported deaths, 13 were residents of long-term care/assisted living
- One of the deaths, a resident of Anoka County, was in the 35-39 age group. This person had underlying health conditions.
- Minnesota previously reported a COVID-19 death of a child in the 5 to 9 age range. The child’s viral infection exacerbated an existing congenital neurological disorder, health officials said
- 7-day case positivity rate at 3.9%, the lowest since June 27
Latest Vaccine Information:
- 777,459 vaccine doses administered
- Of those, 599,218 Minnesotans have received at least one dose
- 251,738 people age 65+ have received at least one dose (There are more than 900,000 people in Minnesota age 65+)
- To register for a vaccine at a health care provider or clinic nearest you, go to mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/find-vaccine
- Johnson & Johnson has applied for emergency authorization use of its one-dose vaccine.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann:
- Hospitalizations are steadily declining
- “We are in a better place than we’ve been in quite some time,” said Ehresmann.
- However, there’s concern about variants of SARS-coV-2
- 18 Minnesota cases of B.1.1.7. variant (first discovered in United Kingdom)
- 2 Minnesota cases of P.1 variant (first discovered in Brazil)
- These variants are most likely underreported
- Minnesota Department of Health also monitoring fast-spreading variant first discovered in South Africa (B.1.351)
- 9 cases of this variant reported from three states, not yet in Minnesota
- “There is a concern that this may become the dominant strain across much of the United States by March,” said Ehresmann.
- To maximize benefits of a mask, visit CDC tips
Q&A Session and Notes:
- “We are in a race against time,” said Malcolm, noting the concern of the spread of variants. MDH has said it’s vaccines racing against the variants.
- Malcolm said there needs to be quantification of vaccination efforts to make sure no areas are underrepresented
- On travel to escape Minnesota cold: “As tempting as it is, especially with these temperatures, it’s still really not a great idea to travel,” said Malcolm.
- Discretionary travel is “dangerous in terms of what it can do for transmission across the country,” said Ehresmann.
- “The more transmissions there is, the more opportunities there are for mutations,” said Ehresmann.
- Malcolm said MDH awaiting additional federal guidance to determine logical next steps in state’s vaccination efforts, “immunizing for impact.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s highest-ranking infectious-disease expert, predicts April could be “open season” for vaccine supply. “That would be really, really welcome news,” said Malcolm.
- Ehresmann doesn’t see PPE supplies as a hindrance to increasing vaccinations. The vaccine shortage is more the issue, she said.
- Minnesota’s health care system has the capacity to vaccinate 400,000 people a week, said Ehresmann, meaning 24 million doses of vaccine would have to be distributed across the country every week.
- “The supply [of vaccine] still is pretty small,” said Malcolm, of the 80,000+ doses the state currently receives weekly. “We do expect that that supply to ramp up incrementally.” She expects the vaccine finder tool to become more useful as supply increases.