Thursday, April 29
- MDH reports 1,921 new infections after days of lower counts
- CDC relaxes guidelines for wearing masks outdoors
- COVID-19 vaccination appointments now available directly through Vaccine Connector
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and Kris Ehresmann, the agency’s infectious disease director, held a briefing on the state’s COVID-19 cases and vaccination efforts.
After reporting that the state's daily COVID case total has returned near the 2,000 mark, state health officials noted potential exposure concerns with protests as well as school events, such as proms and graduation.
Ehresmann reported that 22 COVID cases have been linked to demonstrations in Brooklyn Center after a white police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop on April 11. Protests were held for several consecutive nights following Daunte Wright's death.
Eleven of those cases were law enforcement officers, and the 11 others were demonstrators, Ehresmann said.
She advised anyone who attended protests to get tested. Ehresmann also said that anyone with known exposure or anyone who's feeling ill should stay home and away from others.
Malcolm said that MDH is working closely with the state's Department of Education and school leaders to share "practical suggestions" about how to reduce potential COVID spread at proms and other school events.
"In order for us to really enjoy these events safely, it's important that not only are the school-sponsored events following mitigation, but additionally the extra things we do associated with prom and graduation," Ehresmann added. "It's important that we're considering masking and social distancing for those events as well."
Watch the full briefing in the player below:
After a number of days of lower case counts, data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows new COVID-19 infections are back near the 2,000 mark.
MDH recorded 1,921 new cases in the past day, bringing the state's total to 573,938 since the start of the pandemic. The new infections are based on results from 49,418 tests (38,701 PCR, 10,717 antigen) processed in private and state labs, more than twice Wednesday's reported testing volume.
COVID activity is highest in Minnesota's four most populated counties: Hennepin County reports 119,243 cases and 1,705 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 49,539 cases and 861 deaths, Dakota County with 44,237 cases and 433 deaths, and Anoka County with 40,063 cases and 427 fatalities
Fifteen new deaths were attributed to COVID Thursday, bringing total fatalities to 7,128. Of those deaths 4,365 (61%) are linked to long-term care or assisted living settings.
Hospitalizations remain high but steady, with 644 people being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis as of Wednesday. Of those patients 176 have symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. Bed availability in Twin Cities metro hospitals continues to improve slightly, with 81 non-ICU beds open across the system (2.2% vacancy).
MDH says 552,069 people who at one time tested positive have improved to the point they no longer need to isolate.
Minnesota's vaccination effort has moved past another milestone, with more than 2.5 million residents having received at least one dose (2,507,381). That's 56.8% of those who are currently eligible. The state vaccine dashboard says 1,857,191 people have completed their COVID-19 series, and are considered fully vaccinated.
Wednesday, April 28
The Minnesota Department of Health held a phone briefing on the state's COVID-19 situation after the agency reported the highest daily virus-related death total since February.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm noted the state is seeing a rise in hospitalizations in all age groups over 20 years old.
"We are seeing serious illness in those younger age groups," Kris Ehresmann, the department's infectious disease director, added.
"The median age of hospitalization has dropped by a decade from what we were seeing from November to March, and then from March to April it had dropped by another year," Ehresmann said.
For the 20- to 29-year-old age group, Minnesota recorded a jump from 1.2% of cases leading to hospitalizations in November, to 1.5% most recently, Ehresmann said. For the 50- to 59-year-old age group, the state saw an increase in hospitalizations from 3.7% in November to 6.7% most recently.
Ehresmann explained that every single one of the 10-year age groups over age 20 have seen an increase in hospitalizations.
She acknowledged that variants, such as B.1.1.7, could lead to more severe disease.
"It's more transmissible, and there have been a number of studies that have suggested that it could be more severe," she said.
Data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health reflects the continuing human cost of COVID-19 in Minnesota.
Despite the increasing number of state residents who are getting vaccinated for the virus, 22 more deaths were reported in the last day. That brings total Minnesota fatalities to 7,113 since the onset of the pandemic, with each of those deaths impacting family members and friends left behind.
MDH recorded 1,514 new infections, a significant jump from Tuesday's 1,088, but testing volume was also up significantly with 24,496 tests (20,030 PCR, 4,466 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health officials consider a PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case.
Hospitalizations remain steady, with 643 people being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis as of Tuesday. Of those patients 178 require ICU care. Total hospitalizations have climbed past another threshold, with 30,040 since the pandemic came to Minnesota. State health officials say 550,992 people who at one time tested positive for COVID have improved and no longer require isolation.
The virus has had the deadliest impact on Minnesotans in their 80s. Those between 85 and 89 account for 1,314 deaths in just 6,638 diagnosed cases, and people from 80 to 84 make up 1,149 deaths in 8,577 cases.
Young adults are the largest grouping of cases, with people from age 20 to 24 recording 55,652 cases and four deaths.
The top four counties in population also account for the most COVID activity. They are, in order: Hennepin County with 118,899 cases and 1,703 deaths, Ramsey County with 49,383 cases and 860 deaths, Dakota County with 44,032 cases and 430 deaths, and Anoka County with 39,913 and 427 fatalities.