6-10-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-10-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Wednesday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 7.2 million cases, 411,000 deaths; In U.S., 2 million cases, 112,000 deaths
- In MN, total confirmed cases 28,869 (up 352); Total deaths in 1,236 deaths (up 19) – 16 of the 19 deaths were residents of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.
- One person in 30s among the deaths, had underlying health conditions
- Conducted 8,866 tests Tuesday, highest number for a Tuesday reported (Tuesday tends to be lower, says Malcolm).
- The 352 case increase is a slight uptick after a number of days of decline.
- However, case positivity rate is below rate at end of May
- Hospitalizations continue to be stable, 28 fewer people in hospital reported Tuesday, 6 fewer in ICU
- Wednesday, June 10, marks beginning of Phase III of Stay Safe MN plan, with restaurants, movie theaters, gyms opening to indoor customers at reduced capacity. MDH will be watching this closely, will see results in 3 weeks.
- “We don’t know what the future shape of the curve is going to be,” said Malcolm. “We need to find a way to live with this.”
- “What we’re doing is accepting a certain level of risk to move forward in all these other important measures,” said Malcolm, “while taking steps to prevent that risk from growing out of control.” “We’re trying to find a proper balance of protections.”
- Four community testing sites in Mpls and St. Paul ran Tuesday and Wednesday and will continue in the future to allow those who attended gatherings or protests following death of George Floyd to get tested, EVEN IF they don’t have symptoms. Protesters encouraged to get tested 5-7 days after attending gathering. It’s important to make an appointment since testing supplies are limited at these sites.
- 1,100 tests done Tuesday at four sites.
- Goal is to get results back to people within 72 hours -people who test negative will get an email or text
- People who test positive will get a phone call.
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- MDH sent out health alert for testing guidance, want to clarify for health care providers.
- Asymptomatic testing recommendations does include group homes. Congregate care and long-term care settings include group homes.
- What other countries/states you look at to help MN learn from, such as in Wisconsin? Malcolm: states certainly that had earlier experience, such as Washington state, have been instructive. Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois also paying attention to, comparing notes.
- Ehresmann: Wisconsin has a slightly larger population and virtually the same number of tests done. They’re not doing anything different necessarily than us, said Ehresmann. Fewer outbreaks in Wisconsin in skilled nursing facilities, as well as food processing plants, but no red flag that they’re doing something different.
- Is there an expiration date for people to get tested after attending a mass gathering? Ehresmann: Even after 14 days (2-14 days is incubation), MDH still encourages you to get tested.
- What is ICU bed capacity situation across state? Malcolm: COVID-19-related hospitalizations have been coming down over last couple of weeks. A lot of important care deferred over last couple of months (cancer surgeries, etc), hospitals now starting to see those necessary appointments.
- Are you concerned about ICU bed use with other non-COVID-19 appointments going up? Malcolm: “We’re being very watchful.” Some hospitals are fuller than others, such as at Level I trauma centers.
- What about states reopening, what are we seeing in terms of cases? Malcolm: Wisconsin has not yet seen increase in cases from significant reopening. Important to note, what happens in one community doesn’t necessarily predict what happens in another “for reasons we don’t completely understand.”
- “We need to be watching certain data very carefully,” Malcolm said.
- Ehresmann: We want to wait at least 21 days to see what is happening, referring to Minnesota’s May 18 reopening date. Have not seen dramatic increase in cases. Will have to wait to see impact from June 1 reopening, as well as mass gatherings from George Floyd tragedy.
- As far as testing from mass gatherings. Any patterns? Ehresmann: Still waiting to gather information.
- Update on serologic testing? Ehresmann: We are continuing to get results reported to us. Much of the serologic (antibody) testing available are not FDA approved. Still struggling to interpret the data. More serologic testing will be coming online.
- Focusing more on molecular testing (testing that determines whether you have COVID-19)
- Serology testing determines whether you have immunity and had previous exposure to the novel coronavirus.
- U of M and Mayo Clinic serological testing are FDA approved, but not ready for widespread testing.
- Timeline for serology testing to be more part of state’s strategy? Malcolm: Hopefully will have more information over next week or so.
- Too early to say whether we peaked? “We don’t know if we peaked,” said Malcolm. “It’s highly possible that we could see the pattern shift again and cases continue to grow,” said Malcolm. Preparing for possible resurgence in fall and winter.
- Ehresmann: Absolutely agree it’s too soon to say we’re past peak. We also responded to COVID-19 when regular flu season ended. In fall we’re going to have concurrent activity of both influenza and the novel coronavirus.
- What happens if we don’t have surge in cases following protests? Will that allow us to be more bullish in outdoor activity? Ehresmann: “I think we’d be delighted if that was the outcome.” This could help inform future decisions, she said.
- “This feels like an eternity,” but it’s a relatively short amount of time that we’ve had to collect data on COVID, said Ehresmann. “We’ve learned many things from the response so far.”
- Serology testing survey timeline? Malcolm: Again, should take months, not years.