x
Breaking News
More () »

Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Live updates: First batch of remdesivir distributed to some Minnesotans with COVID-19

Here are the latest developments on the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Monday, May 11

  • First batch of newly approved drug remdesivir distributed in Minnesota
  • Coronavirus death toll in Minnesota nears 600
  • Small business owners consider reopening, defying Walz order
  • Resort, campground owners prepare for season as vacationers wait for COVID-19 developments

2 p.m.

Health providers in the state began using a new COVID-19 treatment drug over the weekend, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Minnesota received a small initial shipment of remdesivir that was distributed Saturday night and Sunday morning to those with severe cases, according to state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield.

The recently FDA-authorized drug was shown to reduce the hospitalization period for those with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Those with the drug were discharged after 11 days on average, compared with 15.

Patients in Minnesota with severe, lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 may qualify to receive the drug, Lynfield said. Distribution is based on some combined ethical and medical guidelines from MDH and the FDA. The patients who receive it in Minnesota will get a 10-day course. Lynfield said more robust national data will offer more insight into the effectiveness of the drug than local data, because there are so many variables.

"We are collecting information on hospitalized patients" with confirmed cases of COVID-19, Lynfield said. "So we will have data coming out, not solely related to people on remdesivir, but in general, because we do have a lot of questions. And we are collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control on that surveillance as well as a lot of other states."

RELATED: White House to direct supply of COVID-19 drug remdesivir amid access fears

One third of the state's confirmed cases are in Hennepin County, and Hennepin and Ramsey Counties combined make up 40% of the state's total cases, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said on the department's daily briefing call Monday. About half of the new cases reported Monday were in those two counties, as well.

Malcolm said seven counties have outbreaks in food processing plants, and those cases account for about a third of the new cases. Those outbreaks, she said, are beginning to level off.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said they are continuing to see cases associated with processing plants, manufacturing, and other essential industries where employees cannot work from home or social distance properly.

"In many of those facilities there has been testing ... for all employees," she said. But the first piece of guidance from MDH is that those plants do aggressive employee screening before letting anyone in the building. 

Ehresmann said if there is a fear about employee safety, MDH partners with the Department of Labor and Industry, which is the regulatory branch over those facilities. She said she is not aware of any plants that are looking to close in the near future. 

RELATED: Here are the coronavirus cases confirmed in MN, WI

RELATED: White House recommends testing all nursing home residents and staff

As testing ramps up in Minnesota, Ehresmann said the department is expecting "many, many more" positive coronavirus test results. They are working to expand the case investigation capacity of the department, which has been challenged by the volume of positive tests as well as language barriers with some patients.

Ehresmann said a key factor is that MDH needs people to respond when they reach out to conduct contact tracing.

There has been a decline in the rates of Minnesota children getting their recommended vaccinations since the pandemic began, according to Ehresmann. She urged parents to keep bringing their kids to their well-child check-ups.

Dental offices are allowed to resume "elective care" on Monday, Ehresmann said, but they need to consider a number of factors including their personal protective equipment (PPE) supply.

MDH responded to questions about a fifth scenario added to Minnesota's COVID-19 modeling, which projected that if the Stay at Home order were extended through the rest of May, the peak could be pushed out until July 27. The top ICU demand would then be 4,000, according to the model, and the death toll could be approximately 25,000, with a significant margin of error.

Several other scenarios show a peak ICU demand and mortality rate that are lower than scenario five.

State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister said the scenario simply shows the relationship between longer reduction in person-to-person contact, and the timing of the peak.

"As the virus doesn't get transmitted because of the reduction in contact, the time to when the economy would be opened up and the virus again would begin transmission among the general population, that sort of dynamic delays the peak," said State Health Economist Stefan Gildemeister.

Gildemeister asked reporters to give him and fellow researchers a few more days to answer questions about the models, as they are planning to release updated projections this week.

Malcolm said the current version of "scenario five" is out of date because the model needs to be re-run with newer data.

Gildemeister said the higher mortality rate associated with a longer stay-at-home order, at least in this model, may be the effect of pushing the spread of immunity out further.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is again sharing numbers that reflect an effort to increase COVID-19 tests while identifying those who test positive to contain spread of the virus.

MDH says 528 Minnesotans have tested positive in the last day, bringing the total of those infected by the coronavirus to 11,799. An additional 4,693 tests were performed in private and state labs, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 115,781.

Of those diagnosed with COVID-19, the median age is 44.

Thirteen more Minnesotans died of complications from COVID-19 over the last day, bringing the total number of fatalities to 591. Of those deaths, 472, or nearly 80 percent, have occurred in long-term care or assisted living facilities. The median age of those dying from the virus in Minnesota is 83. 

As of Monday 452 people are being treated for the coronavirus in Minnesota hospitals, with 194 in ICU. Both numbers are near the top of single day totals. Health officials say 1,716 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Hennepin County reports 3,744 cases of coronavirus, by far the most of any Minnesota county. Health officials continue to express concern about Stearns and Nobles Counties, which have relatively small population bases but a higher number of cases. Stearns reports 1,443 positive tests for COVID-19, while Nobles reports 1,269.

RELATED: Minnesota slower to 'reopen' than other states

Sunday, May 10

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is again sharing numbers that reflect an effort to increase COVID-19 tests while identifying those who test positive to contain spread of the virus.

MDH says 528 Minnesotans have tested positive in the last day, bringing the total of those infected by the coronavirus to 11,799. An additional 4,693 tests were performed in private and state labs, bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to 115,781.

Of those diagnosed with COVID-19, the median age is 44.

Thirteen more Minnesotans died of complications from COVID-19 over the last day, bringing the total number of fatalities to 591. Of those deaths, 472, or nearly 80 percent, have occurred in long-term care or assisted living facilities. The median age of those dying from the virus in Minnesota is 83. 

As of Monday 452 people are being treated for the coronavirus in Minnesota hospitals, with 194 in ICU. Both numbers are near the top of single day totals. Health officials say 1,716 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Hennepin County reports 3,744 cases of coronavirus, by far the most of any MInnesota County.  Health officials continue to express concern about Stearns and Nobles Counties, which have relatively small population bases but a higher number of cases. Stearns reports 1,443 positive tests for COVID-19, while Nobles reports 1,269.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is reporting 11,271 positive cases of the coronavirus across the state in Sunday's update, an increase of 481 additional cases from the previous day.

State health officials say another 20 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number to 578 deaths statewide. MDH says the majority of those deaths, 464, have been among cases in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

MDH says 4,825 additional test have been completed to bring the state total to 111,088 tests that have been completed by the state or an outside lab.

Officials say 6,882 confirmed cases have now recovered to the point of no longer needing isolation.

The state reports 22% of the current cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting, with 15% of cases resulting from known contact with another COVID-19 case.

Hennepin County continues to report the highest number of confirmed cases in the state, at 3,558. Stearns County has the second highest total at 1,405, and Nobles County has the third most with 1,255.

RELATED: Resorts prepare for summer guests as pandemic continues

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what companies in Minnesota are hiring. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11.

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.