Sunday, April 5
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports 2,267 total positive cases of coronavirus as of Sunday, April 5, up from 2,112 on Saturday. The number of Wisconsin residents who have died from COVID-19 is at 68, up from 56 on Saturday.
Health officials say 624 people are hospitalized.
A more detailed breakdown of cases by county can be found on the DHS website.
The Minnesota Department of Health reports 70 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state, with five additional deaths.
Health officials say the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is now at 935.
Officials say five more patients have died, bringing the state's total to 29 deaths.
MDH provided these details about the five deaths:
- An 87 year-old resident of Olmsted County
- A 90 year-old resident of Washington County
- An 83 year-old resident of Dakota County
- An 88 year-old resident of Hennepin County
- A 67 year-old resident of Hennepin County
"We can never forget that these numbers are in fact beloved family members, friends and neighbors who are mourned," Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in Sunday's news release. "We express our condolences and our commitment to continuing the work of protecting Minnesotans the best we can. It is very important for all Minnesotans to do their part in that effort by following social distancing guidelines and other public health recommendations."
According to the Sunday news release, MDH "is not scheduling a formal media briefing call for Sunday."
Four-hundred and fifty-one patients no longer need to be isolated, meanwhile, 202 cases required hospitalization. Currently, 106 patients are being hospitalized and 48 patients are in intensive care, according to the release.
Health officials say the counties of residence of the 70 new cases are as follows: Hennepin (15); Ramsey (12), Washington (8), Dakota (7), Olmsted (7), Goodhue (2), St. Louis (2), Beltrami (1), Blue Earth (1), Crow Wing (1), Fillmore (1), Houston (1), Isanti (1), Pipestone (1), Scott (1), Sherburne (1), Watonwan (1), Winona (1), and Wright (1).
Officials say county of residence data was not immediately available for five cases.
Saturday April 4
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 76 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Saturday, and two additional deaths.
The new totals in the state are 24 deaths related to coronavirus, and 865 total cases. MDH has repeatedly stressed that the number of lab-confirmed cases does not represent the actual total, since they know the virus is circulating in communities.
There are now 440 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in the state and no longer need to be isolated.
The MDH lab has tested approximately 8,738 people, and external laboratories have helped with an additional 16,685 tests.
There are currently 95 people hospitalized, with 42 of those in the ICU. A total of 180 people have required hospitalization so far in Minnesota.
The median age of all cases is 48, and the median age of those who have died is 86.
The most common cause of spread appears to be community transmission at 32% of cases, according to MDH. That's followed by known exposure to a case at 22%, and travel to another state with 18%.
Friday, April 3
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said that 3M being ordered to give all their N95 respirator masks to the federal government is "a concern."
Walz called the move by President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act requiring 3M to hand over the masks to FEMA a "roadblock," but said his administration hasn't fully figured out what it means at this point in terms of Minnesota's supply.
Walz and state health and emergency officials gathered on the phone for their daily update call Friday, sharing information with Minnesotans on the latest developments in the fight to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The governor had earlier Friday announced a new virtual portal at mn.gov/covid19 where Minnesotans can look up data on COVID-19 spread across the state, how social distancing is working, what the current ICU capacity is, and where Minnesota's critical care supplies stock stands.
On the call Friday afternoon, Walz acknowledged that he's concerned that some border states have not yet implemented "stay home" orders or similar measures, but he believes it's a "matter of time." He has said he won't decide until next week if Minnesota's "Stay at Home" order will extend past April 10, but hinted Friday that "there’s certainly a probability" that Minnesota will join the CDC and President Trump in extending restrictions until the end of April.
Friday afternoon, the CDC announced new guidance for the voluntary use of "cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain."
Prior to that announcement, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials were not outright recommending that Minnesotans wear cloth face masks or coverings, but Commissioner Jan Malcolm called it a "good neighborly gesture" for people to keep their own respiratory droplets from reaching others, in case they are carrying the virus. She reminded the public that face masks and coverings are not a substitute for staying home and practicing social distance. She also strongly urged people to save medical-grade masks for health care workers.
Department of Corrections (DOC) Commissioner Paul Schnell said prisons are now implementing a "stay with unit" policy. Schnell called it the prison version of the "stay at home" order that Walz enacted a week ago. He said they are now also beginning to break mealtimes into shifts, and allowing inmates who are worried about being in groups to eat in their cells.
Schnell said they are looking into the legal options for providing conditional medical release to inmates with underlying conditions who are at a higher risk for severe COVID-19. They are also working to provide early work release to nonviolent offenders who are within 90 days of the end of their sentence.
The DOC has reported seven confirmed cases in inmates at the Moose Lake facility, but Schnell said an additional 13 inmates are presumed positive based on symptoms. One staff member there has tested positive, and one is presumed positive. In Red Wing, two staff members have confirmed cases.
Wisconsin's Department of Health Services reports 1,916 total positive cases of coronavirus as of Friday, April 3, up from 1,730 Thursday. The number of Wisconsin residents who have died from COVID-19 is at 37, up from 31 yesterday.
Health officials say 19 of those deaths have occurred in Milwaukee County.
Wisconsin public health officials say of those testing positive for the coronavirus, 20% are between the age of 60 and 69; 19% are age 50 to 59; and 16% are from 40 to age 49. Data shows six people under the age of 10 have tested positive in Wisconsin.
Milwaukee County has the most cases at 955, while Dane and Waukesha Counties report 244 and 133 positive cases respectively.
Gov. Tim Walz gave a live video address from his residence Friday, revealing a data portal where Minnesotans can find information on the state's fight against COVID-19.
"I know these actions are painful. They're painful both social isolation wise, and they're painful economically," he said. "It's difficult when we don't see an end to it, or we don't see a clear path."
Walz said "more than likely it will come back for a second wave" but by that time he believes the state will be ready to treat and test COVID-19.
He said social distancing is working, and Minnesota needs to continue doing it.
"What you’re doing is unprecedented, and making a difference not just in the lives of you and your family but in others," he said.
Walz revealed a dashboard at mn.gov/COVID19 to help Minnesotans navigate the data that the state has on coronavirus, as well as all the resources for public health information and unemployment. The site shows Minnesotans data on current social distancing trends, child care capacity, critical care supplies, and hospital surge capacity.
"A lot of folks are not putting out this information because they feel it might create a sense of panic," Walz acknowledged.
"You are buying us the time," he said, so the government will provide data to show people what exactly that time is buying.
"If you get it and need hospitalization, that care will be there for you," Walz said.
The governor also outlined the work groups addressing major areas of response:
- Hospital surge: Partner with hospitals to assess needs, build out beds in hospitals and at other sites, and support the workforce.
- Supplies: Top procurement officer and team working to buy the ventilators and supplies we need, working with private sector
- Testing: Work with hospitals to expand testing and use other strategies to track the virus.
- Education and child care: Manage distance learning and provide care for the kids of workers in critical sectors.
Walz said that Minnesotans deserve to be well informed on the facts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the data the state government is relying on, and the decisions they're making.
"You deserve to have information," he said. "You deserve to be as well versed as possible."
He said they are also working on long-term planning and recovery for:
- Protecting people: Isolating and supporting those most vulnerable to COVID-19
- Food: Ensuring everyone has enough food, especially those in need
- Economic security: Providing support to people and businesses to help weather the economic storm
"There are promising therapeutics on the horizon," Walz said, "but it takes time."
"States that are requesting 10,000 ventilators are not going to get them because they're not there," Walz said. He called for innovation in the way Minnesota tackles the pandemic.
"There are ways that we can do this as we strategically plan," Walz said.
He said some of that strategy may involve states helping each other as waves hit different places at different times.
"The peak will come to Minnesota," he said. "We are still early out. You have made it possible to push it out further ... but it will come."
Walz said the peak will most likely come before Minnesota has therapeutics or a vaccine. But he emphasized that the state has a plan.
"We continue to use data to keep us separated long enough to make sure fewer of us get infected," he said. "When it comes to Minnesota, our intention is that every single one of you gets all the care we can provide you."
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 47 new lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state on Friday, and four additional deaths.
The new totals in the state are 22 deaths related to coronavirus, and 789 total cases. MDH has repeatedly stressed that the number of lab-confirmed cases does not represent the actual total, since they know the virus is circulating in communities.
There are now 410 patients who have tested positive for coronavirus in the state and no longer need to be isolated.
The MDH lab has tested approximately 8,682 people, and external laboratories have helped with an additional 15,545 tests.
There are currently 86 people hospitalized, with 40 of those in the ICU. A total of 156 people have required hospitalization so far in Minnesota.
The median age of all cases is 48, and the median age of those who have died is 84.
The most common cause of spread appears to be community transmission at 32% of cases, according to MDH. That's followed by known exposure to a case at 22%, and travel to another state with 19%.
State health officials are expected to give more details about the new cases on a call with Gov. Tim Walz at 2 p.m. on Friday.
Thursday, April 2
Gov. Tim Walz says Minnesota health insurance plans have agreed to waive cost sharing for patients who need treatment for COVID-19, at least through May 31.
That means Minnesotans with commercial insurance who need to be tested for coronavirus, or end up hospitalized from the virus, will not have to pay anything. They will also have expanded access to telemedicine.
He and state health and emergency officials gave an update on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, as the official case count rose to 742 and the number of deaths to 18.
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm responded to questions about which long-term care facilities have cases of COVID-19 within their walls by saying the state will begin releasing the names of facilities over a certain size.
Malcolm said 47 congregate care facilities now have at least one COVID-19 case. Thirty-six of those only have one case, five facilities have two, and six have more than two. The largest number of cases in one facility is eight.
The Department of Corrections has reported four cases in its Moose Lake facility as of Thursday. Thirty-one people have been tested across the state's prisons, and seven tests are still pending.
Walz said prisons are one of the problems that "keeps (him) up at night." He said the DOC has stopped some programming and classes, but that "locking people in small cells" is not a solution, either. Prisons represent a "unique challenge" and "you can't just social distance inside that space," Walz said.
Some prisoners who are 30 to 60 days from the end of their sentence are having their release dates expedited, Walz said, and the state is working hard on other solutions and on its "responsibility to provide humane treatment."
Testing limitations remain a concern, even with help from the Mayo Clinic, and Malcolm said they're still prioritizing samples from health care workers, hospitalized patients and people in congregate care settings at the MDH public health lab.
Malcolm said health officials will make it clear to health care providers that they should include homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and other congregate care settings in addition to assisted living facilities, when they prioritize specimens to send to MDH.
Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said Minnesota is one of only four states in the country that has seen unemployment applications trend downward this week compared to last week.
Of the claims that have come in since March 16, Grove said they have already cleared 90% for payment.
Grove said several sectors in Minnesota are hiring even as many companies experience layoffs. Some areas of need are nursing assistants, customer service, food prep and fast food, office administration, social and human services, and software developers.
Minnesota Department of Education Deputy Commissioner Heather Mueller gave an update on the state's efforts to provide distance learning to students while schools are closed.
"Distance learning does not mean online learning," she said, emphasizing that teachers will not just upload materials for students and "call it good."
"Our educators are the heroes that are maintaining continuity for our students and our families," she said.
Walz said that it's a "relatively strong possibility" that classes will not resume in person this school year.
"I think the chance of being able to gather back at school is relatively slim," he said. "This is heartbreaking. We have a whole generation who's missing out."
Mueller said MDE and school districts are considering creative alternatives for honoring graduating seniors, from driveway celebrations to virtual graduations.
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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.
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