6-22-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-22-2020
On Monday, June 22, 2020 the Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
This is a summary of that call.
Update from MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Worldwide, there have been 9 million cases of COVID-19 and 468,000 deaths
- In the U.S., 2.3 million cases and 120,000 deaths
- According to the CDC, the U.S. has averaged about 23,000 new cases and 675 deaths each day for the last week, this has signaled an upward trend over the prior weeks with some variability between the states.
- 33,227 cases of COVID-19 in MN, up 308 from the prior day.
- Minnesota had 430 cases on Friday and 460 cases on Saturday, which reflected a couple days of increase from Thursday’s total of 360.
- Median age of cases in MN is 40.4 years old
- New total of 1,384 deaths, an increase of four from the day prior (the lowest count of new fatalities reported since April 12).
- Currently 332 patients in Minnesota hospitals, 156 in intensive care (four fewer than the previous day).
- Testing in MN — 8,670 tests processed on Sunday, which was a decrease from Saturday’s 12,300.
- More than 15,000 people tested in Minneapolis/St. Paul in the weeks following the George Floyd protests.
- The COVID-19 positivity rates following the mass gatherings was under 2 perecent.
Update from MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann
- There has been a national reduction in the use of the Emergency Room during the course of our COVID emergency. Through the last month, ER department visits declined 42 percent when compared to pre-pandemic use. What we’re seeing with the data is “really concerning.”
- When you look at three life-threatening health conditions such as Heart attack, stroke, and a Hyperglycemic Crisis (i.e. incidents of low blood sugar, what we’re seeing is significant declines in ER visits.
- Emergency department visits declined 23 percent from heart attack, 20 percent for stroke, and 10 percent for Hyperglycemic Crisis when compared with the same time period from before the pandemic.
- A short-term decline in ER visits for these conditions is biologically implausible, especially for heart attack and stroke in older adults. We’re not seeing this reduction because everyone is isolating at home.
- It suggests that patients with these conditions either could not access care or are not seeking care.
- People with signs or symptoms of serious illness such as severe chest pain, sudden or partial loss of motor function, altered mental state, signs of extreme hyperglycemia or other life-threatening issues should seek immediate emergency care, regardless of the pandemic.
- If we have people not seeking care for these conditions, it could be contributing to excess mortality. That’s not something health officials want to see.
- Our health care systems are designed to care for people, despite the fact that COVID-19 is around
- Meanwhile… People still need to get vaccinated during the pandemic, especially children. Many parents are not taking their kids in for well-child visits.
- People should also start getting flu vaccines early. It’s even more important this season, so the MDH wants as many people protected as they can.
Additional notes from the media briefing:
- A reporter asked a question about whether the MDH is playing any role in COVID-19 therapeutics or treatments, in terms of providing advice on when clinicians should use certain drugs and when. Malcolm says the MDH is not doing any independent analysis of COVID-19 treatment modalities. Meanwhile, the MDH is still waiting to hear about peer-reviewed data as opposed to just reading about treatments being tried elsewhere.
- A reporter asked a question about supplies of remdesivir (drug used to treat COVID-19), the MDH says MN has received a shipment last week, but the higher demand from other states may impact that that going forward.
- A reporter asked a question about the decline in critical measles vaccinations. Information from a press conference featuring Sen. Klobuchar and Children’s Hospital found a 70% decline in measles vaccinations (likely Children’s Hospital-specific stats). The MDH calls it “very concerning.” The 2017 measles outbreak was due to people skipping vaccinations. Ehresmann says the MDH wants to take advantage of every tool we have to prevent other infectious diseases, but the MDH has not talked about a specific outreach plan.
- A reporter asked a question about the reliability of the COVID-19 tests. Ehresmann said no test is 100% accurate, and depending on the prevalence of disease in a population, that can also impact the accuracy of the test. Sometimes, people get tested too soon. They need to wait 5-7 days following possible exposure.
- A reporter asked a question about the number of deaths in MN and how it’s shrinking. Malcolm said it’s “an encouraging trend.” Ehresmann said, “we view it as ‘very positive,'” and the median age is now 40 years old. As we’ve been able to expand our testing to a broader population, that makes a difference as well. The older that a person is, the greater likelihood that they’ll have more severe symptoms. She says there’s been a positive impact in Minnesota’s congregate care settings as well. Malcolm also says the medical community is starting to become more informed on COVID-19 treatment.
- A reporter asked a question about “caution fatigue” and how the MDH is handling it. Malcolm says that’s something they see often in public health campaigns. People have heard these messages for the last four months, but she wants to stress that it’s important to keep following these protective behaviors for our own good and the good of the community. Ehresmann says young people who may not be worried about it need to know that we have seen three recent deaths involving people in their 20s. We don’t want to see our cases increase and then have to dial back on our reopening efforts