For the foreseeable future, MinnPost will be providing daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota, published following the press phone call with members of the Walz administration each afternoon.
Here are the latest updates from June 1, 2020:
- 25,208 confirmed cases; 10 deaths
- State evacuates public health lab, moves homeless to shelter
- State plans for testing after crowds
- ‘Desperate need’ for blood
25,208 confirmed cases; 10 deaths
Another 10 Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 1,050.
Four of those who died were in their 90s, four were in their 80s, one was in their 60s and one was in their 50s. Eight of the people who died were residents of long-term care facilities. So far, 855 of the 1,050 people who have been killed by COVID-19 were residents of long-term care facilities.
The current death toll only includes Minnesotans with lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.
MDH also said Monday there have been 25,208 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, up 358 from Sunday’s count.
Since the start of the outbreak, 3,086 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 549 are currently in the hospital, 253 in intensive care. Of the 25,208 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 19,441 no longer need to be isolated, which means they are believed to have recovered.
A total of 255,592 COVID-19 tests have been completed in Minnesota, an increase of 6,073 from Sunday.
State evacuates public health lab, moves homeless to shelter
The Department of Health evacuated its public health laboratory in St. Paul on Thursday afternoon because of the protests across the Twin Cities. (The state Capitol and other nearby state offices were also evacuated.)
As a result, the lab was not able to process any COVID-19 tests over the weekend, but MDH worked to preserve samples. Some were sent to the Mayo Clinic and some were frozen by the state or National Guard. Jan Malcolm, MDH commissioner, told reporters Monday the lab is operating again.
Kris Ehresmann, the MDH infectious disease director, said the state and nonprofits also moved nearly 200 people living in outdoor homeless encampments to hotels in the Twin Cities to protect them from COVID-19, unrest and arson. A separate volunteer-led effort helped another 150 people get temporary shelter at a hotel.
Ehresmann said MDH and local public health officials are working on monitoring and screening those in hotels for COVID-19.
State plans for testing after crowds
MDH officials said they are working on guidance encouraging everyone who has attended protests or other mass gatherings over the last week to get tested for COVID-19, since they could be at risk of infection. That will include people who feel ill or have no symptoms.
Since the disease has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days, however, immediate testing for those at protests may not show whether a person truly has been infected.
Ruth Lynfield, the state epidemiologist, said many protesters have been wearing masks, and people are generally less at risk of catching COVID-19 while outdoors. Still, large gatherings can be dangerous, particularly if people are singing, shouting or chanting.
MDH urged people to quarantine if sick or showing COVID-like symptoms and Malcolm said optimally anyone exposed would separate themselves from housemates or family members. Lynfield said that is especially true if a person lives with someone who is elderly or has underlying health conditions.
While health officials acknowledged it would be difficult to implement contact tracing for anyone who fell ill after attending protests, Lynfield said people usually go to events with friends and family and will be able to track at least that far.
‘Desperate need’ for blood
Ehresmann told reporters that Minnesota’s health care system has a “desperate need” for blood donations. While the state has urged people to give blood since the COVID-19 pandemic began, she said blood supplies are currently low.
Today on MinnPost
- Why are cops in Minnesota so rarely charged in officer-involved deaths?
- Child-protection workers for kids’ well-being during COVID-19 lockdown.
- One in 10 hospitalized COVID-19 patients with diabetes die by day seven, study finds.
- Asking yourself how long it’s been since this all started? Us too.
- As always, a look at the numbers on the MinnPost COVID-19 dashboard.
MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
Hotline, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: 651-201-3920