8-31 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 8-31-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health will hold 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, 25.2 million cases since start of pandemic; 846,000 deaths
- In U.S., 6.0 million cases since pandemic began; 183,000 deaths
- New report from CDC shows 94% of COVID-19 deaths in U.S. had underlying health condition.
- Underlying health conditions including wide range of health impacts from heart disease and diabetes to smoking and obesity
- In Minnesota, 75,864 confirmed cases since March (Up 679 over previous reporting day)
- 1,032 cases reported Saturday and 934 cases reported Sunday
- Of the 75,864 cases, 67,656 (89%) have recovered or no longer need isolation
- “Cases have now begun increasing at a faster rate than our testing,” said Malcolm. “We are in a risky situation.”
- 7.6% increase in testing, but 7.9% increase in cases over prior week
- This has led to stated concern from White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx
- Greater Twin Cities metro area one of few urban areas that has not seen improvement, said Malcolm, which stands out to federal government.
- Believes social gatherings with family and friends contributing to this problem. Malcolm calls these informal gatherings “A weak spot in our collective statewide response.”
- Doesn’t want Minnesota to turn into a Florida and Arizona like several weeks ago.
- Rate per 100,000 cases in Twin Cities used to be lower than national average, now it’s higher, said Malcolm.
- 7-day positivity rate is 5.2%
- In Minnesota, 1,817 total deaths (up 1 death from prior reporting day)
- The 1 death is lowest one-day total since April 13
- Hospitalized as of today in MN: 306; Hospitalized in MN ICUs as of today: 131
- “If you think (COVID) is not that big of a deal, talk to some of the families out there who’ve lost a family member or people who are now suffering from significant long-term health consequences,” said Malcolm.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann:
- “We are continuing to see rising case numbers that are very concerning,” said Ehresmann.
- Identified 29 social setting outbreaks that included links to a least 9 weddings and 2 funerals.
- Winona County seeing impact from return of kids to college campuses
- Sturgis, S.D, rally includes 49 Minnesota cases and 2 hospitalizations (1 in ICU).
- Really not seeing impact at grocery stores and other like-settings where people are where masks. It’s more problematic at these larger family and social gatherings.
- “Too many are starting to ignore our recommendations,” said Ehresmann.
- “One person can unwittingly affect dozens of others at a large event.”
Q&A Session and Notes:
- A week ago, cases plateauing with mask mandate. Now concern about rise in cases. What does this say about mask mandate: Malcolm: We think mask mandate helped to slow the spread. But difficult to attribute improvement or backsliding to one specific thing like masks. “The mask mandate appears to be not being adhered as well at some of our private gatherings,” said Malcolm. Also believes social distancing not adhered to at private gatherings.
- “A lot of people are coming back to Minnesota from vacation,” said Malcolm.
- Thinking about stronger intervention with schools? Malcolm: “We still feel very good about the framework of the school strategy,” said Malcolm.
- What are you advising people about Labor Day holiday? Malcolm: 25-person gathering limits for outdoors, 10 people or less for indoors for informal gatherings, social distancing – even when outside – and wearing masks. Not following these rules leading to transmission of virus, added Ehresmann. MDH doesn’t differentiate between outdoor and indoor social gathering outbreaks. Outdoors seems to mitigate spread. Whole range of gatherings linked to cases.
- MDH has stepped up enforcement with getting establishments to comply with state COVID-19 guidelines. Most businesses had minor or no violations, but there are some with significant violations.
- Any cases with youth sports? Ehresmann: we have started to see some evidence of transmission. “We can’t have folks test out of quarantine.” Even if negative test on day 5, could be positive on day 6. The incubation period for the virus is 14 days.
- What do you make of higher case numbers, but low death total? Malcolm: “We are grateful for every day we see fewer people in the hospital and fewer people dying.” Hospitalization, however, is a lagging indicator. If cases rise, hospitalizations will eventually catch up, but there’s also improvement in care as reason for lower death totals.