8-7 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 8-7-2020
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 Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 19.1 million COVID-19 cases since pandemic began; 715,000 deaths
- In U.S., 4.8 million cases since start of pandemic; 160,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 59,185 confirmed cases (up 556 cases since yesterday)
- The 556 new cases is the lowest daily COVID-19 new case count in 10 days.
- Cases, however, have increased since mid-June, averaging about 700 new COVID-19 cases a day.
- 7-day testing positivity rate at 5.2%, an increase from 4.9% a week ago.
- In Minnesota, 1,640 deaths (up 4 deaths since yesterday)
- Hospitalizations in Minnesota as of today: 300 (a net decrease of 19); Hospitalized in ICUs as of today: 155
- Hospitalizations still significantly below peak of late spring
- Encourages Minnesotans who plan to attend Sturgis motorcycle rally to self isolate for 14 days, especially if they work with high-risk groups.
MDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield:
- Since mid-June, staff members at long-term care facilities have been majority of new COVID-19 cases.
- Now seeing increase in residents at LTC facilities as well.
- Believes participation in large gatherings may be contributing to this, including church events, sporting events, family parties, and weddings.
- Staff having more exposure to the virus in the community than at LTC facilities themselves, according to MDH contact tracing data.
- 5-point ‘battle plan’ has made encouraging progress.
- “We are very concerned that the progress we have made can be at risk and can even be lost if we let up on our precautions,” said Lynfield if precautions aren’t taken with high-risk groups.
- It’s a good example of the “ripple effect” that our actions can take with the virus, said Malcolm.
- “Nobody likes to tell people that we shouldn’t go out and have fun and live their lives,” said Malcolm, “But the hard truth is we are in a historic pandemic. We have big problems in Minnesota and in the United States with community transmission.”
Q&A Session and Notes:
- A significant number of long-term care facilities added to outbreak list. Give a breakdown. MDH: only include facilities that had outbreaks in last 28 days on website.
- 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)
- More than 1,000 health professionals are on volunteer call list to help with staffing shortages around state.
- Sweden has just reported no COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March. Sweden been less restrictive, but has had higher death rate. Thoughts on this? Malcolm: “Certainly been interesting to see different approaches that have been taken,” said Malcolm. We’ve also learned about significant long-term effects from COVID-19 (sequela). We’re trying to control rate of growth in this cases and not letting it run.
- Surge in cases in rural Northern counties. Related to tourism? Lynfield: Don’t have a lot of detail. Some cases have been associated with community gathering.
- Long-term care workers going to bars, not socially distancing, fair to say? Lynfield: People are not maintaining social distancing. Some of those are health care workers. Some of those are contacts of health care workers. “It’s a combination,” said Lynfield.
- Distinction between Sturgis advice and George Floyd protests? Malcolm: Much more spread and interaction in past month. The whole community at different point than late spring (at time of Floyd). More generalized community spread.
- NOTE: MDH did encourage quarantining after Floyd protests
- We do have data from June and July compared to earlier months that more cases are coming from community gatherings, increases in activities.
- “There’s a certain level of COVID fatigue going on,” which makes it more concerning now, said Karen Martin with the Minnesota Department of Health.