8-21 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 8-21-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a 2 p.m. conference call Friday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann:
- Globally, 22.7 million cases worldwide since pandemic began; 794,000 deaths
- In U.S., 5.5 million cases since start of pandemic; 174,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 68,133 cumulative cases (up 835 over previous reporting day)
- MN averaging about 614 new cases per day over previous 7 days
- Of the 68,133 cumulative cases, 60,920 (89%) have recovered and no longer need isolation
- In Minnesota, 1,753 cumulative deaths (up 8 over previous day)
- 4 of the 8 new deaths at long-term care facilities
- Hospitalized in MN as of today due to COVID-19: 296; Hospitalized in ICUs as of today: 136
- Recently seeing more outbreaks at bars and large gatherings
- 15 confirmed cases of Minnesotans who attended Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally, one of them hospitalized. Recommends people who attended Sturgis to quarantine for 14 days.
- Encouraging parents to get their children vaccinations for back to school.
MDE Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller:
- Two weeks away from first day of school, believes “schools are ready.”
- Families should think about having a plan in place in case a family member would get sick.
MDH K-12 School and Childcare Team Leader Susan Klammer:
- Wants students and staff to “lay low before you go.” Avoid high-risk settings.
- Hundreds of school staff in Georgia tested positive, couldn’t attend preparatory activities.
- Don’t attend school if waiting for test results.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Guidelines for teachers with health conditions? And what about teachers who just don’t feel safe? Mueller: Teachers who have family members who are at risk also qualify to stay home from school. It’s up to each district to decide these policies.
- Any other outbreaks than what took place besides what happened at St. Olaf? Ehresmann: No, we haven’t heard from any other campuses. MDH working with institutions of higher education to provide guidance.
- MDH Restaurant Outbreak List. How current is the list? What should customers do? Ehresmann: In many cases, the type of interactions that occurred it’s not always possible to identify exposure. Reason to make list public.
- 5 of the 29 establishments “we’re actively monitoring.”
- Started working on this since June 1 when bars, restaurants allowed to reopen
- Ehresmann: List isn’t to vilify the establishment. Doesn’t mean workers are doing anything wrong. It could be risky behavior by patrons. But there could be problems with establishments too.
- On St. Olaf outbreak, Ehresmann: “It’s really disappointing” to see this kind of behavior before classes are to begin. Ehresmann notes she’s a St. Olaf grad herself.
- Sturgis outbreak: 14 were attendees, 1 was organizer/event worker. Those infected attended bars, campgrounds as well.
- On increasing number of school districts scaling back from hybrid to distance learning Mueller: “A lot of variables taken into consideration.” One is case data, but also staffing considerations. “It’s a lot of logistical pieces.”
- Any point when state would require districts to step in to mandate in-person learning? Mueller: “It’s recognizing where community is at.” Haven’t had those conversations yet.