9-2 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 9-2-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health held a 2 p.m. conference call today to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 25.7 million cases since start of pandemic; 857,000 total deaths
- In U.S., 6 million cases since pandemic began; 184,000 total deaths
- In Minnesota, 77,085 confirmed total cases (up 761 over previous reporting day)
- Of the 77,085 cases, 69,521 (90%) have recovered and no longer need isolation
- More than 27,000 tests reported Wednesday (includes backlog of 16,865 of tests from prior times from Valley Medical – some dating back to March) – 267 positive cases in that backlog.
- In Minnesota, 1,823 cumulative deaths (up 7 over previous day)
- Of the 7 newly reported deaths, 6 occurred at long-term care facilities.
- 7-day positivity rate is at 5.2%, up from 4.9% last week.
- Hospitalized in MN as of today: 297; Hospitalized in MN ICUs as of today: 135
- Plans to increase community testing events
- Thousands of educators, school employees and licensed child-care staff getting instructions this week on how to get free COVID-19 saliva test. (250,000 total)
- State adding saliva tests, urging teachers to use this test when needed.
MDH Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann:
- 50 Minnesota resident cases from Sturgis, S.D., rally. Includes 1 death of an individual, age 60s, with underlying health conditions.
- Trying to debunk internet rumors that children with COVID-19 being taken from families by child protective services. That is definitely not the case, said Ehresmann.
NOTE: Also on the briefing
- MDE Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller
- Children’s Cabinet Assistant Commissioner Erin Bailey
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Has MN received request from federal government to have vaccine action plan ready by Nov. 1? Ehresmann: Yes, state has received this request. Hasn’t changed work we’re doing and our relationship with CDC. State working to be ready for vaccine distribution this fall.
- Malcolm: “Feel very good on the progress that’s been made on building up surge capacity” in response to hospitalizations if needed. Says there’s been “unprecedented collaboration” between health systems to get supplies where needed.
- Stable or declining hospitalizations currently in MN
- Seeing “very concerning” complications from people trying to recover from COVID-19, not just a mortality issue.
- MDH asking itself ‘do we need to add new goals?’ to address COVID-19 situation. “It’s become a much more nuanced picture with some additional goals beyond just let’s make sure we’ve got enough health care capacity.”
- Where will saliva tests be processed? Capacity to handle them? Malcolm: First round of saliva testing will be processed at New Jersey lab before Oakdale, Minn. up and running. No concerns about backlog.
- School staff being encouraged to take tests regularly? Mueller: saliva test is for those who feel they are ill or had exposure to someone with possible COVID-19. Teachers not required to take test to come back to work (if they don’t have symptoms or had potential exposure).
- New JAMA research shows relationship between school closures and reduction in COVID-19 cases/mortality. Would this prove the efficacy of closing schools should we see another wave of cases? Ehresmann: what it tells us is when we shut down society it does make a difference. “We recognize the value of schools,” said Ehresmann. Our goal is to maximize education opportunities in the safest manner.
- Mueller: Closing schools statewide last spring “was a very difficult decision.” “We know the role in-person learning plays for our students.”
- Are you following same models as White House metrics? Malcolm: quick answer is yes, we follow a wide array of models, including IHME model. Tracking 30 some models. Models aren’t necessarily evidence, but intended to identify what could happen.
- Tracked any COVID-19 cases from campaign events? Ehresmann: If they don’t tell us about any activity, we won’t know about when we do contact tracing. Nothing yet.