8-10 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 8-10-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a 2 p.m. conference call Monday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 19.8 million cases since start of pandemic; 731,000 deaths
- In U.S., 5 million cases since pandemic began; 162,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 61,516 cases since first confirmed case in March (up 625 cases from prior reporting day)
- 2,300 confirmed COVID-19 cases over past three days
- Median age remains at 36.0
- In Minnesota, 1,660 total deaths (up 3 deaths)
- One of the deaths in a long-term care facility
- Hospitalized in MN as of today: 320; Hospitalized in ICUs as of today: 159
- 7-day testing positivity rate: 5.4%, up from 5.2% week prior.
- 151 assisted living facilities have active outbreaks. 91% have NOT had cases in past 28 days. (total of 414 in MN had outbreak during pandemic)
- 106 nursing homes have active outbreaks. 71% have NOT had outbreaks in past 28 days (total of 198 in MN had outbreak during pandemic)
Lindsey Krueger, Director of MDH Office of Health Facility Complaints:
- New guidance at Long-term Care: Takes effect Aug. 29
- Primary consideration for facility visitation decisions should be whether there has been an exposure in the facility from a COVID-19 case in a resident, staff or visiting service provider within the past 28 days.
- Aside from the 28-day history of exposure at a facility, the guidance indicates several other risk factors for facility management to assess when making the decision to move to a higher level of visitation and activities. These include case incidence in the surrounding community, facility size and the extent to which staff at the facility are working at other LTC facilities as well.
- 10 cases per 10,000 people in that community considered “elevated risk”
- According to MDH regulators, the number of maltreatment reports coming in since March has dropped by 20% compared to a similar period from 2019 – a drop that would not be expected to have happened by coincidence during a major pandemic.
- Visitors identify cases of maltreatment.
- “We will be dealing with COVID-19 for a long time, and it is important to find a way to allow residents to interact with their loved ones safely,” Commissioner Malcolm said on the new guidance. “Residents have been isolated for months, and that presents significant risks for their emotional and social well-being. This guidance helps facilities keep their COVID-19 guard up while taking cautious steps toward ensuring residents have more social connections and interaction.”
Aisha Elmquist, Minnesota Deputy Ombudsman for Long-Term Care:
- The Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care notes it has been dealing with many calls from residents who feel hopeless and helpless stuck inside facilities cut off from family and friends, and from family members who worry about the health and safety of their loved ones.
- Seclusion contributes to mental and physical decline. It’s also a safety issue. “Everyone needs others, including those who live in long-term care settings,” said Elmquist.
- Guidance does not require visitations at long-term care facilities to increase
Melanie Van Wyhe, Family member of a long-term care resident:
- Told story about her mother dealing with Alzheimer’s. At first, could only do window visits with mom.
- Noticed more detachment in late June.
- Wrote letters to MDH encouraging more in-person care. MDH now provides guidance to allow an essential caregiver for inside visits.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- 40 counties with more than 10 per 10,000 cases. One factor in allowing visitors. Hennepin County higher than this. Malcolm: this guidance does not require long-term care facilities to increase visitation.
- Why 28 days? Malcolm: That is two incubation cycles. Would provide some confidence that outbreak at a long-term care facility is under control.
- Importance of exercise as it pertains to fighting off COVID-19? Ehresmann: “We do know that obesity is a risk factor for more severe outcomes with COVID.” Eating well and getting sleep is also important.
- Effect of Mask Mandate? Malcolm: Full contribution won’t be noticed for another two weeks. (Mask mandate went into effect on July 25).
- Deaths haven’t spiked at long-term care facilities in proportion to cases. Malcolm: “We’re very gratified” improvements have been made contributing to more positive outcomes.
- Deaths are also a lagging indicator, said Ehresmann, meaning it takes longer to see deaths to show up in the data.
- Long-term care facilities are not required to submit plans to MDH to increase visitation.
- Outdoor visitation has been implemented in majority of facilities, said Elmquist.
- Elmquist: Number of facilities who have allowed essential caregivers has been “more spotty.”
- Screening requirements for visitors? Krueger: Temperature checks and questions for visitor on symptoms. Require sign-in, sign-out to allow for monitoring and contact tracing. Visitors must wear masks.
- Impact of new guidance? Melanie Van Wyhe: “I’m just happy it’s taking place.” Elmquist: “We are anticipating a positive impact” of reuniting families. “There are things that can absolutely be done to make it safe.” “We can’t keep loved ones in isolation with no end in sight.”