6-8-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 6-8-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health will held a conference call today to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally above 7 million cases, 403,000 deaths; In U.S. nearly 2 million cases, 112,000 deaths.
- Total confirmed MN cases is 28,224 since early March (up 338); Total MN deaths 1,197 (up 11 from previous reporting day). 6 of the 11 newly reported deaths at long-term care facilities.
- The pattern continues to see decline over past two weeks, despite some fluctuations, said Malcolm.
- One of the newly reported deaths was a person in his/her 20s – no known health condition. 2nd such death of person in 20s. CCX Note: St. Paul School Board Chair, Marny Xiong, 31, died of COVID-19, no known underlying health conditions
- 80% of COVID-19 deaths have been at LTC facilities.
- 2,973 health care workers have tested positive.
- 452 patients hospitalized in MN with COVID-19 (198 in intensive care).
- New sports guidance:
- High risk: wrestling, football, hockey, karate, taekwondo, group cheer
- Medium risk: basketball, baseball, gymnastics, trampoline, bowling
- Low risk: Individual running sports, singles tennis, golf
- Malcolm: hope to resume group activities for medium risk sports by end of June.
MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann:
- MN has conducted more than 10,000 diagnostic tests for five days in a row, including 10,023 on Sunday.
- Attendees of George Floyd rallies/protects encouraged to get tested for COVID-19. Ideal time is 5-7 days after attending mass-group events.
- Starting June 5, MDH started counting all tests, including people tested more than once. Better tool to determine goal of achieving 20,000 tests per day
- On protesters getting tested, concerns about contact tracing and protecting privacy of those getting tested: Malcolm: It speaks to the importance of having trusted community partners that explain importance of testing. “There’s a lot of public education to be done.”
- Ehresmann: “We need to ask people sensitive questions about sensitive information many times over.” “We treat that very seriously.” “Our concern is simply making sure that the individual and their contacts are safe.”
- Malcolm: It is concerning some health providers still can’t test asymptomatic patients, especially those who participated in George Floyd protests. Need health systems to remove barriers. This goes against MDH guidance.
- Guidance for safe return to schools in fall? Malcolm: “We just don’t know” what pandemic will be at that time. Can’t guarantee guidance by late July. “It’s an evolving picture.”
- Ehresmann: “We keep learning new things.”
- Response to information not being made public in regards to identifying number of deaths at LTC facilities? Malcolm: “We certainly understand the public interest.” “We have tried to take a balance approach.” Goal is to protect patients, while also identify facilities with 10+ cases. Want to make sure people have context that goes with numbers.
- Assistant Commissioner Marie Dotseth: Inspections and complaints of assisted living facilities are public on our website.
- Hospitalization numbers lowest since May 12? Malcolm: “We think that’s an encouraging trend,” but still see fluctuation. Keep in mind there’s a lag time between exposure and people developing symptoms.
- Will this week’s hot weather change the profile of the virus: Ehresmann: “There has been some discussion whether there’s seasonality with the virus.” We don’t have good data on that, but continue to monitor that. Need full year of data.
- Is plateau a good word? (as mentioned Friday). Are we past peak? Malcolm: We have seen a much flatter curve, with occasional spikes. It’s a markedly different pattern compared to what we’ve seen in April.
- About younger deaths, did they seek care immediately? Ehresmann: Don’t have any evidence to suggest individuals didn’t seek care in appropriate timeframe.
- When should patients get checked into hospital? Ehresmann: definitely trouble breathing, or any other concerning symptoms. Reach out to health care provider.
- World Health Organization (WHO) says asymptomatic spread might be rare. Does that report change things? Malcolm: That’s different than what we’ve been hearing.
- Ehresmann: We’ve modified contact tracing interviews to accommodate asymptomatic transmission. There’s no Minnesota specific research, but we’re looking at this. To say it’s not as common is not to say it doesn’t happen, says Ehresmann.
- Ehresmann: individuals in the 20s didn’t live in group homes or congregate care settings.