5-28-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 5-28-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Thursday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19. Reporters will have time for questions following the update.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Acknowledged “pain, anguish, sadness and anger” following the events of George Floyd’s death. Encourages folks who are gathering to wear masks and social distance.
- 5.7 million cases, 356,000 deaths globally; 1.7 million cases, 100,400 deaths in U.S.
- 22,947 confirmed cases in MN (up 493 cases); 967 deaths in MN (up 35 deaths, a new single day high)
- One death in 30s, one in 40s. No known underlying health conditions yet for both these cases, said Malcolm.
- 27 of the 35 deaths were in long-term care. 81% of the total deaths in MN (787) are long-term care.
- 606 people hospitalized, 242 in intensive care (down 18 in ICU).
- 8,676 COVID-19 diagnostic tests completed Wednesday, also a single-day record. These tests done by public and private labs.
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- As previously noted, as many as 80% of infections involve mild or no symptoms. This means some people could be spreading the novel virus and not know it.
Q&A Session & Notes:
- Update on COVID-19 as it relates to children. Ehresmann: “We are seeing cases in children.” Under 20 age group is about 25 percent of the cases. 397 cases from birth to age 5; 1,536 cases from 6 to 19.
- There are many more cases in older adults, “because that’s where we focus our testing,” said Ehresmann.
- We have teams working with schools and child care if there are outbreaks, make parents aware of these instances
- How Minnesota relates to rest of nation? Are we doing better, worse? Malcolm: we do track comparisons. We had slow growth at beginning compared to other states. Believes “we’re still climbing the curve.” “We’re doing quite comparably,” Malcolm said.
- Minnesota is No. 29 on testing per population basis, says Malcolm. Wants to hit 10,000 tests per day by end of May. Partnership with U of M and Mayo Clinic is to have 20,000 tests per day in June.
- Wants to hit 50 tests per 10,000 people per week. Currently at 30 tests per 10,000 people per week.
- Latest on ICU pressures. How close to divert cases to other hospitals, or alternate sites? Malcolm: some Level I trauma centers have activated their surge beds. See fluctuation up and down on ICU numbers.
- Ehresmann: this system does get utilized during severe flu season too. 95% of ICU capacity used during regular flu season.
- Malcolm didn’t have forecast on how close state is to diverting cases, reaching ICU capacity. Plans to bring in Dr. John Hick to address question.
- Three weeks ago announced “battle plan” to address long-term care deaths, seems problem has gotten worse. When will “battle plan” start showing results? Malcolm: focus on deaths is certainly understandable, but point of battle plan is not solely focused on reducing percentage of deaths. Deaths at skilled nursing facilities in MN is 54%. Minnesota reports all congregate care settings, including assisted living, unlike other states, hence higher results. “There are measures of success in plan,” said Malcolm.
- MN also counts deaths at hospitals, if transferred from long-term care facilities
- Among large care facilities, 1/3 have had no new cases within the week, said Malcolm.
- Restaurants and bars, hair salons not required to report reservation logs to MDH for contact tracing purposes.
- Are we going to see serious outbreaks from all the protests? “It is certainly going to be a factor,” said Malcolm on the case counts.
- Ehresmann: we’re in a much better place with contact tracing than we were four weeks ago.
- MDH has 600 contact tracing investigators, continue to add to that capacity (includes MDH partnerships).
- Looking at death records, which conditions put people at greatest risk? Ehresmann: 97.6% had some level of pre-existing condition. “We are doing a deeper dive” into data, don’t update on daily basis. Heart disease, lung disease just a couple of the conditions. Checking into what conditions that stand out.
- How are long-term care staffers handling infection control? Ehresmann: we started working with facilities even before we had COVID-19 cases. Our team has done on-site visits over last three years for best practices in infection control prevention.
- Facilities are often strapped because they don’t have enough staffing capacity, and high employee turnover. Reached out to 196 facilities pre-COVID-19.
- Does state have more capacity than people getting tested? Malcolm: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons did community testing this past weekend at MN National Guard sites. Capacity is more than 10,000. 8,600 roughly tested yesterday.