7-6-2020 COVID-19 Update from the MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 7-6-2020
On Monday, July 6, 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, 11.4 million confirmed cases; 534,000-plus deaths.
- U.S., 2.93 million confirmed cases; nearly 130,000 deaths (seeing an increase of 40,000 to 50,000 cases per day in U.S. – fastest case growth rate yet in U.S. during pandemic)
- Minnesota, 38,569 confirmed cases (up 434); 1,474 deaths (up 3)
- Average of about 11,500 tests per day since Friday (450 case positives per day over weekend).
- Over last week, MDH saw 14.9% increase in number of tests and 7.6% increase in number of positives.
- “That is the ratio we hope to continue seeing: more tests and a lower rate of positives,” said Malcolm.
- Minnesota is one of 14 states with flat or falling case growth levels over past two weeks, according to COVID Exit Strategy website.
- 258 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in MN (125 in intensive care unit (ICU) – lowest ICU total since April 22)
- Median age is 38.4 with COVID-19. It was 41.5 beginning of June.
- Number of cases among Minnesotans in their 20s has increased nearly 80% since June 1 (4,660 to 8,474)
- People 70 and older have suffered more than 80% of MN deaths, but represent only 11% of state’s cases.
- Prior goal in MN was 50 tests per 10,000 people per week. State has now reached a threshold of 100 tests per 10,000 per week. (State releasing new metric to determine how state is doing and is more appropriate measure based on increase in testing). MN has surpassed new threshold over past three weeks.
- Added new measure to highlight case growth: rate of new cases per 100,000 people averaged over 7 days. Threshold is 5 new cases per 100,000 averaged over 7 days. Makes it easier to identify outbreaks, she said, compared to previous method (which was the “case doubling rate” – a slower-moving analytic).
- MN above the new threshold measure: 7.7 new cases per 100,000 over 7 days. (equivalent to 435 cases per day, threshold is 283 cases per day).
- Advantage of this measure is it allows you to compare regions.
Q&A Session and Notes (MDH State Epidemiologist and Medical Advisor Dr. Ruth Lynfield part of call):
- Federal health officials estimate every one confirmed case likely represents 10 undetected cases.
- How is MN doing compared to rest of country with new metric? Malcolm: Don’t have comparison just yet. Just released metric today. Lynfield: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut asking people, she believes, to quarantine if they came from regions with high number of cases.
- How does masking requirements correlate to how states are doing? Lynfield: More data are coming out. “We think it is very important for source control.” We don’t want people to think they’re invincible if wearing mask, still have to social distance, said Lynfield.
- Fewer deaths and ICU cases in MN because positive tests are trending younger? Malcolm: Yes, that is the case. Whether that trend continues remains to be seen, she said. Also has to do with control of outbreaks in congregate care facilities.
- Higher number of cases reported Monday higher due to delay from holiday weekend.
- 13 of last 15 days have single-digit deaths. How comfortable is MDH with way MN is trending? Malcolm: Improvements can also be related to improvements in treatments. Also attributes to hard work in congregate care settings, including long-term care facilities.
- Lynfield: It’s a combination of things. Agrees with improvements in detecting infections and preventing spread at long-term care places. Mentioned drugs now available including dexamethasone and remdesivir to help with improved care
- Lynfield: “This is an infectious disease and they can spread it to people who may not do as well,” she said in caution to younger people.
- Malcolm: Seeing “significant improvements” at long-term care (LTC) facilities, which includes nursing homes and assisted living. Many facilities with no new cases in at least a week. Malcolm also notes a majority of LTC places have not had a case since pandemic reached Minnesota.
- Are latest metrics/dashboard measures based on anything or are they ‘best gut’ to determine how MN is doing? Lynfield: This is something we continue to look at. We do feel new cases per 10,000 people over seven-day rolling average is very useful. Targets are “a real challenge,” she said. “It’s an ongoing iterative process.”
- Anticipating bump from 4th of July activities? Malcolm: “I think certainly we’re learning more” to give it a good 2, 3, even 4 weeks from significant events. (Again, 2 to 14 incubation period for novel coronavirus, plus factor in additional time for people to get tested and receive results.)
- Statewide mask mandate? Malcolm: Nothing I can say today.
- What is state’s commitment to remdesivir. It costs about $3,000 per dose. Lynfield: Remdesivir in Minnesota has been donated free of charge to patients by maker Gilead. It is concerning about price tag, she said, to ensure access to people who need it. “Don’t know what future will bring.”
- Remdesivir not FDA approved yet