9-21 COVID-19 Update from MN Department of Health
Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Update 9-21-2020
The Minnesota Department of Health will hold a conference call today to brief members of the media on the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 31.1 million cases since pandemic began; 960,000 deaths
- In U.S, 6.83 million cases since start of pandemic; 199,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 90,942 cumulative cases (up 937 over previous reporting day)
- 1,318 cases reported Sunday, new one-day record.
- Of the 90,942 cases, 82,174 (90%) are no longer considered infectious.
- In Minnesota, 1,969 total deaths (up 4 over prior day).
- The four deaths by age range: 1 in 60s, 2 in 70s, 1 in 90s.
- 2 were residents of long-term care
- Hospitalized in MN as of today: 255; Hospitalized in MN ICUs as of today: 128
- Hospitalizations are fairly stable, said Malcolm.
- 7-day positivity rate at 4.4% as of Sept. 12 (4.8% previous week).
- Several regions of the state are over 5% positivity rate threshold.
- Key rate of unknown community transmissions has increased to 36%.
MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff:
- On Wednesday, Sept. 23, opening first saliva testing site in Duluth.
- First of 10 semi-permanent sites across the state.
- These are open to all Minnesotans, especially exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19
- Results will be available within 24-48 hours of reaching lab
- “Minnesota has come a long way in our testing capacity,” said Huff.
- These new sites not meant to replace sites already available.
- Saliva tests will soon be processed in Minnesota (Oakdale). Due to open in mid-Octobers. Tests currently being shipped to New Jersey.
- This is the first time saliva testing will be available to general public in Minnesota. (These tests recently made available to educators and child care workers.)
- “Helping someone find out that they are positive early helps them protect others,” said Huff. “Positive cases staying hidden will only cause more spread, more detrimental impact to our schools and to our economy.”
- Saliva testing reduces need for PPE supplies, diversifying testing strategy
MDH Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann:
- Notes new one-day case record reported Sunday does not involve any backlog of cases.
- Says the high-number of cases puts pressure on schools, impacting their ability to reopen
Q&A Session and Notes
- The Minnesota State High School League reversed its earlier decision to postpone both football and volleyball to spring because of COVID-19 concerns.
- The MSHSL approved a football season of six games with practice starting Monday
- A postseason format will be determined by Oct. 1.
- First games expected Oct. 9.
- Season would end Nov. 28.
- 250 fans allowed for football, none for volleyball (indoors).
- “We respect the High School League decision,” said Malcolm. “They’ve taken a thoughtful approach throughout to try to weigh the risks that are involved.”
- On aerosolized transmission — Malcolm: “We’ll continue to look to the CDC for guidance,” but “we do continue to look at the science ourselves.”
- Ehresmann: “Our guidance to the public has focused on 6 feet of distance.” MDH will continue to look at role of aerosolized spread (how much novel coronavirus spreads through airborne particles)
- CDC recently reversed course, deleting its coronavirus aerosol transmission guidance on its website.
- Latest on schools and COVID-19
- 60 new cases each day related to schools (doesn’t necessarily mean transmission at the schools)
- 351 schools impacted by COVID-19
- 263 at least 1 case,
- 81 schools between 2 and 4 cases
- 7 schools 5 or more cases
- MDH has regionalized teams to work with districts on guidance
- Ehresmann: One challenge with antibody testing is how much antibody would be necessary to have some sort of immunity. Don’t know how long immunity would last. There have been instances where individuals get a second case of COVID-19
- MDH conducting survey, household testing that includes five northwest suburbs.