4-28 COVID-19 Update: Mask Guidance, Johnson & Johnson Vaccine News
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call on Wednesday, April 28 to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19. This is a summary of that media briefing.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm
- 1,514 newly-reported positive COVID-19 cases today
- 572,025 positive cases in MN since the start of the pandemic
- this week the change in cases is 2.1 percent greater than last week
- Seven-day rolling average test positivity rate is 6.5%
- 22 deaths reported today (the largest number of deaths reported in a day since early February)
- 7,113 deaths in MN since the start of the pandemic
- a total of 30,000 people have been hospitalized in MN for COVID-19
- There are currently 641 people hospitalized with COVID-19, of those, 184 people currently in intensive care
- The percent of cases that have become hospitalized have gone up a bit from the prior wave to this one, in all age groups over the age of 20.
- over 4.1 million vaccines have been administered to Minnesotans
- The number of people with at least one vaccine is close to 2.5 million
- The number of people who have had a complete series of vaccination is over 1,830,000
- That represents 33 percent of our entire population and over 40 percent of the vaccine-eligible population
- The week of May 3, we’ll receive 60,600 first doses and 56,200 second doses of the Moderna vaccine.
- Minnesota will receive 81,900 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and 81,900 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine
- Minnesota will also receive 12,400 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week
- This does not include doses allocated directly by the federal government to their distribution channels like the retail pharmacies or federal sites
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann
- On Friday, the CDC voted to lift the temporary pause on the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
- The use of the vaccine was paused on April 13 after some cases of an extremely rare type of blood clot were reported in a small number of the people who received the vaccine
- This condition is now being referred to as Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome or TTS
- The pause allowed experts to review vaccine safety data and to provide information to health care providers to recognize and diagnose patients, treat them appropriately, and report cases that may have been related to the vaccine
- The data showed that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the very small risk
- This adverse event of TTS is rare, occurring at a rate of about seventy people per million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years of age.
- For women 50 years and older, and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare.
- People should be aware of this rare adverse event, and your health care provider should be able to talk about the benefits and risks of the J&J vaccination with you
- Americans are fortunate to have three safe and effective vaccines that are helping us get close to the end of the pandemic.
- To bring that end even closer, it’s very important that all eligible Minnesotans get vaccinated
- All three vaccines protect you from COVID-19. They also protect your family, your friends, and your community.
- MN had distributed 9,600 doses of the J&J vaccine to providers. They were stored by the providers who received them once the pause was announced. They can now be distributed.
- Updated CDC Masking guidance —
- the guidance specified that people don’t have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household
- They can also go mask-less in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people
- un-vaccinated people should wear masks at small outdoor get-togethers that include other un-vaccinated people
- Since last summer, Minnesota has had a masking requirement for people going to a grocery store, restaurant or other public setting. This has not changed.
- You’re fully vaccinated 14 days after your final dose of the vaccine
- masking is still required for vaccinated and un-vaccinated people attending large group outdoor events like sporting events
COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Director Dr. Nathan Chomilo
- we continue to see persistent disparities in vaccination coverage based on race and ethnicity
- to improve on our commitment to vaccinate people, the MDH is implementing strategies to get more communities of color and people living in poverty vaccinated
- over the next four weeks, equity allocation goals will be targeted to communities hit hardest by the pandemic. They will base this on zip code and ethnic background.
- Doses will be targeted to focus communities: people who identify as Black, indigenous, Hispanic, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, LGBTQ+, Minnesotans with disabilities and other health needs, homeless Minnesotans, Minnesotans in corrections facilities, migrant workers
- MDH has shared a list of zip codes and maps with partners that highlight the immunization rates
- one of the dramatic things we’re learning is how much the vaccines are working to protect the people who are at highest risk
- MDH says we’re seeing benefits of vaccination, but we’re also seeing serious illness in working-age groups (people under age 65). Also, hospitalization remains high.
- Our current surge of COVID cases could have been much worse had it not been for the vaccinations
- it’s incumbent on the state and the vaccinator partners to make sure that the vaccine is conveniently accessible to people who don’t have the luxury or time to seek out the vaccine
- MDH says they’re analyzing data as to which Minnesotans are skipping the second dose of the vaccine. There are 52,756 Minnesotans who received a first dose that have not received their second dose. It’s about 3.4% of Minnesotans, but that’s still concerning to us. We’re looking at how to work with people to make sure that if there’s a problem accessing the second dose, that there’s a place they can go.
- menstruation side effects related to the vaccine — MDH says there has not been any data to suggest that there is an issue.