6-17-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-17-2020
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, about 8.2 million cases, 444,000 deaths; In U.S., 2.1 million cases, a little under 117,000 deaths.
- Total number of MN cases since pandemic began now at 31,296 (up 419), Total number of MN deaths is 1,325 (up 12), 10 of the 12 new deaths reported in long-term-care facilities.
- Hospitalized as of today: 351, Hospitalized in ICU as of today: 181
- High occupancy rates in hospitals driven by other types of care
- June continues to see fewer cases and fewer deaths compared to May
- 19,573 tests reported Tuesday, a change of 13,363 from previous day. (There was an external computer issue announced that resulted in a lower total at beginning of week. That resulted in backlog of testing processed)
- As far as curve graph on MDH website, that is based on when tests were collected.
- Almost 2,000 people tested Tuesday among 4 MDH community testing sites, another 2,800 expected to be tested to Wednesday. These testing sites set up after George Floyd rallies.
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- Mower County has 73 new cases, (734 cases as of last evening -2nd highest number of incidences in state). There will be community testing Saturday in Austin.
- Received new shipment of remdesivir, 1,960 vials, this drug reduces effect of COVID-19 in most severe patients.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Is meat-packing driving up numbers in Mower County? Ehresmann: In this case, activity in the community as well as activity related to a couple large employers.
- No states received shipments of remdesivir in two weeks prior, are there severe shortages? Ehresmann: “The fact that we did not receive it for two weeks was not ideal.”
- On ICU beds, are there concerns that you’re near capacity? Malcolm: “This is not an atypical summer pattern.” There’s just not a lot of slack in the system. We’ve seen shrinking in hospitalizations for many years, which reduced surge bed capacity over the years.
- Foresee pulling back on elective surgeries if COVID-19 ICU cases climb again? Malcolm: That would be one of the tools we would have. We could revisit that.
- Malcolm: most of the ICU hospitalizations concentrated in Twin Cities metro, but some cases are referrals from Greater Minnesota.
- Three weeks since death of George Floyd, expectation to see increase in cases? Malcolm: It’s encouraging patterns are holding, but still too early to draw definitive conclusions. (On previous calls, Malcolm has said outdoors may mitigate the novel coronavirus somewhat).
- Ehresmann: Incubation period for virus is up to 14 days (2-14 days is incubation period of virus, MDH recommends getting tested 5-7 days after possible exposure), plus it takes time for people to get tested and processed.
- “We’re are pleased and grateful from the low positivity we’re seeing,” Ehresmann said on what MDH is seeing so far referring to data from the protests and mass gatherings and overall picture.
- What about guidance at LTC facilities and social isolation? Malcolm: social isolation is a major health concern. Just today, we announced window visitation guidance at LTC facilities. Working on outdoor vistitation guidance.
- Ehresmann: There is not a code for social isolation as cause death in death certificates.
- What is update on staffing support as part of “battle plan” to help long-term care facilities? Malcolm: We’re not seeing as many urgent staffing issues at LTC facilities compared to a month or six weeks ago. MDH has been doing a lot of work to create volunteer staffing pools to cover shifts.
- Staffing challenges have been a real issue in LTC long before COVID-19, said Malcolm.