7-27 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 7-27-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Monday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 16.2 million cases, 648,000 deaths since pandemic began
- In U.S. 4.2 million cases, 146,000 deaths since pandemic began (1/4 of cases worldwide, but 5% of world population)
- In Minnesota, 51,803 cases since March (Up 646 over previous reporting day).
- 2,300 new cases from Friday to Sunday. Saturday had 875 cases, highest since beginning of pandemic.
- Median age is 36.0
- In Minnesota 1,576 deaths since start of pandemic (up 2 deaths over previous reporting day, both residents of long-term-care facilities)
- Hospitalizations in MN at 257 on Monday (down 16), 126 people in intensive care unit (ICU), an increase of 11. 126 is highest since July 5
- State’s 7-day positivity rate, at 4.8%, same as previous week. 5% is considered low-warning threshold. NOTE: there’s a one-week lag period on the seven-day rolling average.
- Over past week 12% increase in testing volume, and 10% increase in new cases.
- Received 80 complaints this past weekend, mostly about lack of mask wearing.
MDH Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann:
- Impact of mask mandate on case numbers: expect to see impact three weeks from now.
- On summer outdoor gatherings, make sure to keep social distancing. Outdoor gatherings is lower, but still not zero. Outdoors, however, better than indoors based on scientific research of the respiratory virus.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- On 80 complaints coming in, these came into state environmental health folks and Department of Public Safety: Ehresmann: 55 complaints from businesses; a total of 80. In the realm of what MDH has seen in the past. Not unusual. Majority of complaints related to people not wearing masks. Someone wore a Halloween mask, which produced another complaint.
- What are conditions that exempt mask wearers? Ehresmann: Guidance to businesses is if someone says they have a medical condition, businesses should honor that.
- Rate of community spread growing, according to state’s website, Malcolm: Community spread one of most critical measures MDH tracks. Community spread means we don’t where cases have originate.
- Measures have been going in wrong direction, hence, reason for mask mandate, said Malcolm.
- Ehresmann: “There could be a time we do need to dial back” if things continue to go in unfavorable manner.
- On metric state uses, what is most important? Malcolm: It’s a combination, can’t “pick a favorite.”
- On enforcement: Malcolm: Our most important is education. It’s “not about taking away people’s fun.”
- Why are MLB players getting a day turnaround and not others? Malcolm: “That’s a pretty fair question.” It depends on the lab and private sector. MLB has contracted with the private marketplace and paying a premium price. “We’re frustrated” with lag times because it does help with contact tracing more quickly.
- Advice to classroom situation. More nervous given latest numbers? Malcolm: It’s very possible schools will be using more than one model. (NOTE: Districts can take more cautious approach, but can’t allow more school activity beyond state guidance).
- Models are 1) Classroom learning only 2) Hybrid model 3) Distance learning only
- “These next few weeks are critical,” said Malcolm, about the school situation and reducing spread.
- Malcolm couldn’t say she’s more “nervous” about current situation on school impact. “It’s a harder question than you might think.”