6-26-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-26-2020
On Friday, June 26, 2 p.m. the Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 9.64 million cases; 489,000 deaths
- In U.S., 2.47 million cases, 124,000 deaths, notable increases in U.S. case growth
- Total confirmed cases in MN – 34,616 (up 498 — 3rd day in a row of increase, also highest increase since June 5). Thursday the reported increase was 365.
- Total number of deaths in MN – 1,411 (up 5)
- 335 patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19 (157 in ICU) – 40% below high point in late May.
- 14,000 tests processed Thursday, which does produce more confirmed positive cases.
- Children and teenagers represent the fastest-growing age groups hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This week people in their 20s became the age group with the most lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota, overtaking people in their 30s.
- 7,045 cases among people in 20s (represents 20% of all cases in MN)
- The median age of all known COVID-19 cases in Minnesota is 39.6 (For deaths, the median age is 83.6)
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- More than 100+ cases recently associated with bars. June 12 & June 13. Mentioned Rounders Sports Bar and The 507, both in Mankato, linked to COVID-19 cases.
- Says this will create hassles with health care, child care. Ehresmann: many of the positive cases worked in these environments.
- Also mentioned Minneapolis bars with case exposure from June 14-June 21. Bars include Kollege Klub in Dinkytown and Cowboy Jacks, said Ehresmann.
- Please consider getting tested if you frequented these establishments during these time frames.
- “Desperately need” younger people to take COVID-19 seriously.
- Serology test results from blood banks indicate an even broader spread of the virus. (Serology test results show antibodies to COVID-19, meaning a person has had previous exposure)
Q&A Session and Notes:
- One confirmed case could actually mean 10 unknown cases, according to CDC officials, what does this say about MN results? Malcolm: we’ve always known lab-confirmed cases is a fraction of true cases. Believes the true positivity rate is about 10%, (currently lists 3.4% positivity rate).
- Malcolm: Great majority of Minnesotans remain vulnerable to infection
- Ehresmann: young adults are increasingly becoming part of transmission process.
- Opportunities to socialize increasing cases, Ehresmann said, but that’s also because of social distancing issues and lack of mask wearing
- Aren’t increasing cases expected as Minnesota reopens? Malcolm, yes, it’s to be expected but the goal is to keep that growth manageable.
- Ehresmann: having all these cases linked to bars is not managing growth, don’t want to overwhelm system “we’ve worked so hard to strengthen.”
- 56 cases linked to one bar establishment, she said. Did not name establishment.
- What about requiring masks than making it a guideline? Malcolm: the benefits of mask wearing continue to get stronger. A requirement might make a logical companion to all the business reopenings.
- What about update on modeling? Malcolm: Last update was May 13. Just now in the process of updating input factors. Can expect modeling update soon.
- We’re seeing waves of increases, where does MN stand now? Malcolm: we’ve seen these waves repeated for last 5-6 weeks, with general trend on downward slope. Again, increases seen today largest since early June, but increase in testing also part of that.
- Fair amount of debate over requiring masks. How would it be enforced? Malcolm: we know for this to work, Minnesotans have to buy in. But saying something is “required” does matter, though acknowledges it doesn’t change everybody’s behavior.
- Malcolm: the mask is meant to protect others, but now there’s some evidence it can protect the wearer too.
- Expect to deploy community testing in Mankato? Malcolm: Good question, we’re in conversation with hot spots in regards to testing.
- Are there other hot spots in Blue Earth County (Mankato)? Ehresmann: the two bars in Mankato were indeed the focal points, a lot of disease activity. Many age 20-somethings tested positive, went to these bars.
- “Not to say you can’t have fun,” but need to do it a manner that’s safe to you and the people around you, said Ehresmann.
- What about COVID cases in Tribal Lands? Malcolm: That’s a great question. Ehresmann: Overall data, 90 individuals who identified as American Indian or Alaskan native, but some positive tests identify as “multi-racial” or “other.”
- Gender cases fairly even, but not in ICU admissions. 60% are men, Why more men in ICU? Malcolm: sounds like a good Dr. Hick question. Ehresmann: underlying conditions are part of that, we can certain look at this. Certain data points in time can change. Deaths are about even between genders, she said.
- How do you work with federal guidance? How do you grade federal strategy going forward? Malcolm: Gov. Walz has said lack of cohesive federal strategy has complicated matters. Some of the federal guidance a moving target. Large spikes in some states, likely will impact MN because people travel around the country.
- A federal plan would certainly been helpful early on, said Malcolm. We have to be mindful and learn lessons why spikes happen in certain states.
- Wondering about four establisments mentioned. How crowded were they? Malcolm: they were indeed pretty crowded environments. Ehresmann: Guidance not being followed, no masks.
- What about penalties? Ehresmann: we’re working with regulators on this issue.
- Malcolm: Goal is education first and foremost