8-5 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 8-5-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Wednesday to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 18.5 million cases since pandemic began, 701,000 deaths
- In U.S, 4.7 million cases, 156,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 57,779 cases since state’s first confirmed case in March (up 629 cases since yesterday)
- Median age remains at 36.0
- In Minnesota, 1,629 deaths since beginning of pandemic (up 9 deaths since yesterday – 5 in Hennepin County)
- 4 of the deaths occurred in long-term-care facilities
- Hospitalizations in MN: 305 on Wednesday (down 23 from yesterday), 152 needing intensive care
- Testing volume was about 11,718 yesterday.
- 7-day average positivity rate is 5.2%, up from 4.9% a week ago
- During COVID-19, drop in immunizations. A variety of factors for this, including concern going to doctor’s office
- To request copy of child’s immunization record, visit: https://www.health.state.mn.us/immunize
- Critical for Minnesotans to get their flu shots this fall, said Malcolm.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Are we close to testing capacity? Malcolm: we have capacity to test about 20,000 a day. Not utilizing all that capacity.
- “We are doing our best to move (testing) supplies around the state,” said Malcolm, but “it’s not always a seamless process.”
- Urges people to visit state’s website for testing locations.
- Any events currently attributing to outbreaks? Malcolm: social gatherings and larger gatherings, in general, have been the problem. This includes gatherings at bars/restaurants, large family gatherings that go in addition to not social distancing, wearing masks.
- With improved treatments, are you seeing this in the data? Malcolm: we are seeing this with remdesivir, improved management of cases once patients arrive in hospital have helped. Remdesivir is drug shown to lessen effect of COVID-19 in seriously ill patients.
- Convalescent plasma (from blood donors previously exposed to virus, the blood contains antibodies) also helping to treat patients.
- Have guidelines changed for whom should get tested? Malcolm: No, people with symptoms and asymptomatic people who’ve been told they’ve had an exposure should get tested.
- Discouraging Minnesotans to go to Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally? Malcolm: Disappointing that decision was made to go ahead with event at time cases are surging in South Dakota. It’s a situation that’s “ripe” for further spread.
- “It would be a prudent and very thoughtful thing to do” to quarantine when they come back from rally, said Malcolm.
- Guidance has been to quarantine for 14 days.
- What about mail-in tests? What is MDH’s position on these tests? Malcolm: It’s important to talk to your health care provider about what tests are reliable and what tests are not.
- There are a lot of tests in development, which is a good thing, said Malcolm.
- We are looking at incorporating FDA-approved saliva testing into MDH testing regimen (NOTE: this will be used this fall for educators in school)
- Home nasal mail-in tests not fully vetted yet.
- COVID-19 pattern the last few weeks in Minnesota is an up-and-down pattern with cases.
- PPE supplies tracked on https://mn.gov/covid19/data/response-prep/critical-care.jsp