9-14 COVID-19 MN Update & Stay-at-Home Guidance Update
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 9-14-2020
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.
Today’s topic: Situation updates and School Attendance and Stay-at-Home Guidance
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 29 million cases since the start of the pandemic; 924,000 deaths
- In U.S., 6.55 million cases since pandemic began; 194,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 84,949 cumulative cases (up 643 cases over prior reporting day)
- Of the 84,949 cases, 78,238 (92%) have recovered and are no longer infectious
- In Minnesota, 1,922 total deaths (up 3 deaths over previous day – none from long-term care facilities)
- MN Patients hospitalized for COVID-19 as of today: 233; Hospitalized in ICUs as of today: 135
- Exceeded 20,000 tests Friday and Saturday (21,489 tests on Saturday highest so far)
- 7-day test positivity rate is 4.9% (down from 5.6% week prior)
- “We’re hoping to see these continued trends improve,” said Malcolm. “It is somewhat of an unusual pattern,” she said referring high levels of cases for extended period of time, but not exponential growth.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann:
- “The biggest thing we want people to understand is that any Minnesotan – including children – who has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 needs to stay home for a minimum of 14 days,” said Ehresmann.
- The COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs includes a full list of the more common and less common symptoms associated with COVID-19, as well as guidance for individuals and their siblings or household contacts.
- “We need all parents and families to take this guidance of staying home when needed seriously,” said Ehresmann.
- Community transmission is over 34%.
MDH K-12 School and Child Care Team Leader Susan Klammer:
- COVID-19 Attendance Guide for Parents and Families – Guide for parents and families to understand when children can attend school, youth programs, and child care during COVID-19.
- Home Screening Tool for COVID-19 Symptoms – Home screening tool for parents and guardians related to COVID-19.
- Of licensed child care centers, summer day camps and district school age care programs, 70% had only 1 case between March and August and did not identify any additional cases. “This is a testament to the good work of child care providers and schools in keeping staff and children safe,” said Klammer.
Chair of Pediatrics-Park Nicollet Dr. Andrea Singh:
- Worked on guidance for schools and children.
- “As a parent, I know personally that this is not easy on families to adjust to the disruptions, to try to balance work,” she said.
- “Typical cold symptoms are not typical cold symptoms this season,” said Dr. Singh. “It’s certainly possible they could be COVID,” she said.
President of the School Nurse Organization of Minnesota Deb Mehr:
- “We know that families are hearing conflicting messages on when their kids should stay home from school,” said Mehr.
- “Please do not put school nurses or school staff in a difficult position by having to send your student home when they’ve arrived at school experiencing symptoms.”
Q&A Session and Notes:
- 14-day case rate per 10,000 people in Hennepin County: 19.21. NOTE: this rate is lowest since at least July 5. This rate provides guidance for schools on learning model decisions.
- Update on cases reported on MN colleges. Matching expectations? Ehresmann: “We are seeing a lot of activity related to our colleges and universities.” However, it doesn’t necessarily mean transmission occurred on campus, she said.
- 3 colleges with more than 100 cases over past 2 weeks: MSU-Mankato, Concordia-Moorhead, Winona State
- “We’re seeing positive signs” on Mankato campus, said Ehresmann.
- Too early to say with Concordia-Moorhead & Winona State with new restrictions on those campuses
- 200 colleges and universities in MN, 65 had at least 1 case. Very small number with multiple cases.
- On whether MDH actions has prolonged the curve (prolonging cases over time, but reduced an immense spike), Ehresmann: We liked to say the analogy, “We’re walking on the edge of the cliff, and we’re grateful that we haven’t fallen off,” she said. “The potential for going over the edge is still there.”
- On clusters noticed with gyms, fitness facilities? Ehresmann: Identified two situations in August (a total of 34 cases). Nothing compared to volume of bars and restaurants. 66 establishments referred for follow-up by MDH. “Difference is quite striking,” said Ehresmann.
- Outbreak at Waseca federal prison. MDH team working with that prison, more than 100 cases there. Some inmates tranported from another state were infectious.
- Options for single parents, and advice for employers: Malcolm: “The overarching message is just appreciating how complicated this is and the ripple of all the different policies are,” she said. “We certainly need everyone’s cooperation.”
- CDC Study out on Friday with Child Care. One of the challenges we face with COVID is asymptomatic transmission. Dr. Singh: “It’s such a challenging time because we don’t know a lot of this information.” “It’s going to be an interesting fall and winter.”
- Ehresmann: our current guidance does call for children to be tested if staff member at child care facility has COVID.
- Dr. Singh: recommend to quarantine for 14 days and get tested 5-7 days after initial exposure.
- “COVID has a greater effect on the body than you may initially see the symptoms present,” said Ehresmann, on research about the disease. “It’s important that we take COVID seriously,” she said. “It’s how the virus affects your health for the long term.”
- MDH will release dashboard-type information regarding school districts and colleges and COVID-19 cases.