2-2 COVID-19 Update: ‘It’s Heartbreaking That We Don’t Have Enough Vaccine Right Now’
2-2 COVID-19 Update from Minnesota Department of Health
The Minnesota Department of Health held a press briefing Tuesday at 2 p.m. to provide members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
You can watch the full briefing here.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- In Minnesota, 463,132 total cases (up 633 on lab volume of 10,220 test results processed)
- Of the 463,132 cases, 448,595 (97%) no longer require isolation
- In Minnesota, 6,210 total deaths (up 8)
- Of the 8 newly reported deaths, 1 was in their 30s and 1 in their 40s.
- 3 of the 8 deaths were residents of long-term care/assisted living
- 7-day case positivity rate has declined to 4.4%. Been below 5% for several days now which Malcolm says “is a very good sign.”
- 394 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, of those 84 in intensive care.
Vaccine Doses Administered Update
- 565,603 doses administered (data last updated Jan. 31)
- This includes first and second vaccine doses
- 447,610 people have received at least one dose in Minnesota.
- This is 8.1% of state’s population
- Of those with one dose, 161,586 are people age 65+
- Current rate of vaccine allocation would take “several months,” 16 weeks, to get everyone 65+ vaccinated
- Nearly 1 million people are age 65+ in Minnesota (918,000 to be exact).
- The Health Department announced Monday a new vaccine locator map to help people age 65-plus schedule appointments. Keep in mind the demand for the vaccine still greatly exceeds the supply.
- Averaged 64 new cases a day in long-term care settings this past week. These averages haven’t been this low since late September.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann:
- Minnesota has ramped up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and is now administering two times the number of shots given per day on average compared to just last week.
- Gov. Walz set goal last week that all providers should administer 90% of vaccine received within 72 hours and the remainder within 1 week.
- “While we have more vaccine available for seniors this week than we ever have, it’s still a drop in the bucket.”
- There is progress at long-term care settings, completed first round of doses at skilled nursing facilities. Says 81% of nursing home residents opted to receive their first dose. Second dose regimen starting now.
Warning About COVID-19 Scams
- MDH does NOT ask for credit card or banking information, and NEVER asks for social security information
- Vaccine is free
- It’s a scam if callers offer to ‘bump you up’ on the waitlist for payment.
- Vaccines do NOT get shipped to your home. That’s a scam, said Ehresmann
Q&A Session and Notes:
- “It makes sense for providers to try to do what they can to make sure that the most vulnerable people get vaccinated first,” said Malcolm, acknowledging differences and variability among providers delivering vaccine to 65+ age group. (For example some providers only administering to people 75+, others catering to 65+)
- Will people vaccinated have to abide by same restrictions? “What is unknown yet is what impact vaccination has one’s ability to transmit the virus to others,” said Malcolm. Need more data. Expect people vaccinated to follow same restrictions as others until 80% of population is vaccinated.
- Ehresmann: “[The Johnson & Johnson vaccine] will be really useful” due to it being one dose. Understands that it is not as “effective” as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses. Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective, according to clinical trials (it’s waiting FDA approval). Says we’re “very fortunate” to have these vaccines so quickly. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will still very much help lower hospitalizations and severe illness, she said.
- FYI: Measles vaccine is 95 to 98% effective
- Influenza vaccine effectiveness has varied over the years in the 50% to 60% range.
- Minneapolis community vaccination site expected to open Thursday
- What about those under 65 who have serious underlying health conditions in getting the vaccine? “It’s just a great example of the challenges and the frustrations and the concerns around the pace of vaccine coming into the state,” said Malcolm. “We absolute need to get to the medically fragile population as well.”
- Ehresmann: “It’s heartbreaking that we don’t have enough vaccine right now.” Says she gets those emails too about those medically vulnerable, but under 65, that can’t get vaccine.
- But Malcolm added, “The situation is pretty dynamic.”