6-3-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-1-2020
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 6.4 million cases of COVID-19, 381,000 deaths; In U.S. total cases at 1.8 million, 106,000 deaths
- Total cases in MN since start of pandemic 25,870 (up 372 since day prior); Total deaths in MN now at 1,086 (up 14). 10 of the deaths involved long-term care facilities, but none involved skilled nursing facilities (i.e. nursing homes). One of the deaths involved a person in their 40s.
- 537 hospitalized in MN (254 in ICU), ICU cases remain stable. A week ago there were 666 people in the hospital (263 in ICU last Friday was the highest total)
- COVID-19 can spread quickly while people are next to each other over long periods of time. Thousands of people may have been exposed during rallies for George Floyd, Malcolm said.
- Encourages people to get tested 5-7 days after being at a large gathering, like those taking place in Mpls and St. Paul, even if you don’t have symptoms. Symptoms can be very mild.
- Recommends making an appointment and getting tested at your primary care clinic.
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- Blood supplies critically low in some communities. Blood centers have many safety precautions in place. “You can donate blood confidently,” said Ehresmann.
- Warns about scams involving contact tracing – scammers impersonating health workers. The Federal Trade Commission says scammers send texts and links. Do NOT click on these links and provide information.
- MDH reaches out by phone first. Public health officials would only text people if they reach out by phone first, said Ehresmann.
- Prevalence of COVID-19 in the state? Is there a better estimate? Ehresmann: the numbers have been evolving. The estimate initially was one positive test in MN was really like a 100 cases (since many haven’t been tested). Now with more cases and more modeling the new estimate is about 5 percent of Minnesota’s population have COVID-19. That’s 282,000 (as noted above there’s only 25,870 confirmed cases).
- Study just released and published in New England Journal of Medicine shows hydroxychloroquine didn’t work to prevent getting COVID-19 after being exposed to someone with the disease. Ehresmann: It’s just a reminder that new therapies go through clinical trials before they’re touted.
- Is situation obtaining supplies getting any better, especially in outstate MN? What about ventilators? Malcolm: we’re continuing everyday to source different materials. “We’ve made a lot of progress” adding to state reserve capacity.
- “We’ve appreciated response of Minnesota companies” to meet demand, said Malcolm, but MDH also continues to look worldwide.
- Are we hitting a plateau? Too early to speculate? Impact on lifting restrictions? Malcolm: We have seen some fluctuations and some declines over the past couple of weeks, “but we are not declaring anything to be a sustained trend yet,” said Malcolm. We should see impact in another week from the reopening of noncritical retail stores at 50 percent capacity May 18.
- Any consideration to bring out testing tents to where people are protesting? Malcolm: Given incubation time needed, it wouldn’t do any good to test on the spot. Would lead to false positives or negatives. MDH officials say incubation time is 2-14 days after initial exposure. Again recommended testing time is 5-7 days after the event.
- On use of tear-gas and impact on COVID-19. Malcolm does acknowledge use of irritants could exacerbate problem by making you sneeze more and cough more.
- Malcolm says MDH works to distinguish deaths at long-term care facilities. Says Minnesota numbers are not apples to apples compared to other states because Minnesota reports all congregate care settings, not just nursing homes. Average number of COVID-19 cases in nursing homes nationally is 62 per 1,000 people. In MN, it’s 40 per 1,000 people. Average COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes nationally is 27.5 per 1,000 people In MN it’s 12.7 deaths per 1,000 people.