11-30 COVID-19 Update: Latest Case Numbers Show Minnesota is a ‘Hot Spot’
Governor Walz to Discuss Progression of COVID-19 in Minnesota
Today, Monday, November 30, 2020, at 2 p.m., Governor Tim Walz joined Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm to give Minnesotans an update on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota through data trends.
Governor Tim Walz:
- “Data doesn’t give you answers, data allows you to ask the right questions to find the answers that you need.”
- “Minnesota has been consistently recognized as being the state with the best, most transparent and most usable data as it deals with COVID-19 from third-party validators.”
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 62.8 million cases since pandemic began; 1.46 million deaths
- In U.S., 13.4 million cases since start of pandemic; 267,000 deaths
- In Minnesota, 318,763 total cases (up 5,801 over prior reporting day)
- Of the 318,763 cases, 272,608 (86%) are no longer consider infectious.
- Over the holiday, 5,704 cases reported Friday (Wednesday data), 9,015 reported Saturday (Thursday and Friday data), 8,946 reported Sunday (Saturday data).
- In Minnesota, 3,593 total deaths (up 15 over previous day)
- Of the 15 new deaths, 5 were residents of long-term care/assisted living
- Minnesota ranked #37 (better than most states) in long-term care resident cases per 1,000 and deaths per 1,000 according to data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during week of Nov. 15.
- Minnesota reported 101 deaths on Friday, shattering the one-day high (previous high was 72 deaths).
- State positivity rates have declined in recent days, but Thanksgiving holiday could lead to increases.
- COVID-19 case positivity rate fell from 15.6% on Nov. 10 to 11.9% on Nov. 21
- Positivity rate on Oct. 1 was 5.1%
- Hospitalizations in Minnesota currently with COVID-19: 1,840; Of those, 392 COVID-19 patients in Minnesota intensive care units
- There is a lag period in deaths and hospitalization numbers. Both of these tend to lag two or more weeks behind changes in viral activity.
- Numbers of people admitted to hospital since mid-October with COVID-19 have tripled
- At beginning of November – 9% of patients in non-ICU beds had COVID-19, 18% for ICU beds
- Today, percentages of COVID-19 patients have increased to 25% in non-ICU beds and 35% in ICU beds
- “We really need to see sustained reductions in case growth and positivity rates to consider whether the tide is really turning,” said Malcolm.
- Reported about three weeks of case growth declines in the summer before a slow, steady climb in late summer, then explosion of cases in the fall.
- 46,000 cases in mid-November alone
- Malcolm expects Minnesota to reach 400,000 cases in a couple weeks based on current data trends
- “We’re not just finding more cases, because we’re testing more. It’s just showing us how much virus is really out there and it’s a lot,” said Malcolm. “The fact that we are testing so robustly is really one of the bright spots I think in the Minnesota response.”
- More than 1/3 of Minnesota counties have weekly case rates of 100 cases per 10,000 people. For perspective, MDH considers a high-risk of threshold of 10 cases per 10,000.
- “We’re in the worst spot since March,” said Malcolm.
- Minnesota has more cases per population than previous hot-spot states like New York, Arizona, Texas or Florida. “We are a hot spot.”
Q&A Session and Notes:
- This is the second week of a four-week emergency order in Minnesota (ends Dec. 18). The order closed bars, restaurants, entertainment venues and fitness centers; also limited gatherings to immediate household members only.
- On allowing cocktails to go, Walz says “whatever helps folks, I want to do it.” Says this will need legislative approval.
- Walz says he believes work around vaccine and distribution have been “incredibly well done.” referring to his recent call with Dr. Fauci. Discussions ongoing for distribution protocols whether it will be 65 and older first, or health care workers getting vaccine first.
- Pfizer should be approved Dec. 11 by FDA to distribute under Emergency Use Authorization.
- Most vaccinations will be done in private sector, such as at local pharmacies.
- Brunt of distribution will happen in March or April, expects Walz. Says more companies will be rolling out vaccine by then.
- Another Minnesota update on vaccine distribution expected next week, possibly Monday or Tuesday.
- States will have role in customizing federal distribution guidelines
- Walz says he has not left state since March. Spent one night at Camp Ripley watching artillery and one night in Duluth visiting small businesses. Worries about false media reports.
- “For the people who want to vote against me, you can find a million reasons that are probably true rather than having to resort to this,” said Walz about false report that he traveled to Florida over Thanksgiving.
- Flu season numbers are unseasonably low, said Walz. Mitigation efforts with COVID-19 have helped against seasonal flu.
- On COVID-19 relief package for businesses, legislators worked over Thanksgiving weekend, Walz says Republican, DFL leaders trying to meld proposals together. Tuesday’s budget forecast will help. Walz says we could “possibly” see agreement this week.
- On Christmas gatherings, Walz expects guidance to be similar to Thanksgiving.
You can watch the full briefing on the Governor’s YouTube page.