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The daily coronavirus update: 19 more deaths; why Wisconsin has fewer cases than Minnesota

COVID-19
Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert
COVID-19

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 10, 2020:

28,869 confirmed cases; 1,236 deaths

Nineteen more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 1,236. 

Of the deaths announced Wednesday were four people in their 90s; seven in their 80s; five in their 70s; two in their 60s, and one person in their 30s with underlying health conditions. Sixteen of the 19 deaths announced Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

The current death toll only includes Minnesotans with lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

MDH also said Wednesday there have been 28,869 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, up 346 from Tuesday’s count.

Since the start of the outbreak, 3,482 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 427 are currently in the hospital, 193 in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 28,869 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 24,675 are believed to have recovered.

A total of 369,795 COVID-19 tests have been completed in Minnesota.

More information on cases can be found here.

Amid reopenings, MDH urges precautions

Wednesday marks the day Minnesota’s gyms, fitness centers and indoor dining establishments can reopen with restrictions (more info in this update from last week).

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
Christine T. Nguyen/MPR News/Pool
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm reminded Minnesotans that the pandemic is not over, and that COVID-19 is likely to be around for some time. She said people should maintain the precautions they’ve been asked to practice all along, including social distancing, wearing masks whenever possible and washing hands to slow the spread of the virus.

Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

Anybody paying close attention to neighboring states’ COVID-19 stats might have noticed that Wisconsin has fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths than Minnesota. For reference, Minnesota has 28,869 confirmed cases and 1,236 deaths. Wisconsin, meanwhile, has 21,593 cases and 671 deaths. 

That’s despite being similarly sized (Wisconsin’s population is slightly larger than Minnesota’s), being neighbors, and being exposed to the virus — at least that we know of — around the same time. (Update: we should also note Wisconsin’s restrictions loosened  earlier than Minnesota’s.)

Why is that?

It’s not totally clear. MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said Wednesday that MDH has been in conversation with Wisconsin epidemiologists and that the state doesn’t appear to be doing anything significantly differently from Minnesota.

Wisconsin does, however, have fewer long-term care outbreaks (Wisconsin uses a narrower definition of long-term care, focused on nursing homes and assisted living, but even so, Ehresmann said). It also has fewer outbreaks in manufacturing or meat processing plants. 

Still, Ehresmann said, “There hasn’t been any sort of definitive red flag that they’re doing something particularly different from us that has made a difference.”

Community testing available in Minneapolis and St. Paul

More than 1,100 were tested Tuesday at four community testing sites in Minneapolis and St. Paul designed to make testing available to those involved in protests or gatherings in the wake of George Floyd’s death, whether they are symptomatic or not.

Testing is available free-of-cost, with no insurance required, at sites in north Minneapolis, St. Paul and two sites in south Minneapolis. Testing at these sites will also be available June 16, 17, 23 and 24. Hours are 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and people seeking tests are advised to make appointments because limited walk-in appointments are available. More information can be found here.

Today on MinnPost

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

Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Joe Smith on 06/10/2020 - 04:55 pm.

    If you want some real answers go west and ask what South Dakota is doing to have 7 deaths per 100k people. Minnesota has 21 deaths per 100k people. Leadership also has to ask anybody or any other State, as to what they are doing different in LTC facilities…. 16 of 19 deaths from LTC again today. Minnesota leads the nation in over 80% of all deaths coming from LTC facilities.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/11/2020 - 10:16 am.

      Verrrry different population density in SD vs MN. SD has fewer than 900k people, at an average density of less than 12 people per square mile. MN has more than 5.6 million people, at a density of nearly 69 people per square mile. That’s a density difference of nearly 6X.

      Plus, SD had pretty significant outbreaks in their more populated areas (Sioux Falls, in particular, with over 20% of SD’s entire population, and a population density only slightly less than the MSP metro area, but with 100X area) related to a food processing plant. Nearly 3000 cases in just that ONE plant. Those individuals are going to be lower risk than people in long term care. So, fewer people died, but it’s a matter of population density and distribution. That is, if we were going to follow SD’s example, it would be to…social distance.

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 06/11/2020 - 02:55 pm.

        Rachel, thank you for the geography lesson on South Dakota but what does that have to do with over 900 elderly folks dying in LTC facilities in Minnesota? Are you saying our facilities are more crowded? Everybody at this point knows elderly folks with multiple underlying health issues are the ones dying, why didn’t Minnesota leaders protect them? Most healthy people will be asymptomatic and not even know they had the disease. That has been the case since the start of this virus season. Catching the virus for 99% of folks will at worse be a bad flu, it is the 1% in LTC facilities that we let down.

  2. Submitted by Stephen Bubul on 06/11/2020 - 08:06 am.

    Regarding Minnesota v. Wisconsin Covid experience: this seems like a good example of how many variables affect the spread of any disease, and especially this one. But we humans are driven to find easy answers where there are none–we invent stories to explain things that are too complicated to explain easily. With sufficient time, money, and effort, one might be able to pin down the constellation of reasons for this slight variation. But it’s hardly worth it. Instead, someone (whose party affiliation starts with an “R”) will attribute the slightly better picture in Wisconsin to the libertarian Wisconsin Supreme Court decision freeing the Badgers from their tyranny of public health regulations– see! the people, on their own, did better than the enslaved Gophers next door! So much more satisfying to proclaim a conclusion than to say, “hmm, I don’t know.”

  3. Submitted by BK Anderson on 06/11/2020 - 08:09 am.

    Wisconsin has no great metropolis like the Twin City area. Also of interest would be the percent of the population in LTC facilities for each state.

    The conservative majority on the WI Supreme Court rolled the dice and (apparently) came up lucky. It certainly wasn’t because those rightwing judicial activists were respecting the state of the science. But the story of the Covid-19 pandemic surely isn’t over yet…

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 06/11/2020 - 12:05 pm.

      Have you not been to Milwaukee? It is as much a metropolis as Minneapolis, just not as large. While the Twin Cities are like the 14th or 15th largest MSA, Milwaukee is about 40th. So they are close enough to compare for this purpose.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/11/2020 - 12:26 pm.

      The closest are Milwaukee metro at about 1.5 million and Madison at about 650 thousand.
      That’s enough to account for the difference in Covid incidence between athe wto states.

  4. Submitted by William Holt on 06/11/2020 - 08:15 am.

    I really want to believe that it will all end soon. After all, the consequences of COVID-19 are very large-scale and not positive.

  5. Submitted by Dick Nylander on 06/11/2020 - 09:14 am.

    How do I find the cases and deaths by individual facility? I’m interested in Village Shores in Hennepin county.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/11/2020 - 09:28 am.

    For a change, I – sort of – agree with Joe Smith, at least about long-term care facilities. South Dakota might be explained – I’m not an epidemiologist, nor do I play one on TV – fairly simply by noting the difference in overall population and the size of metro areas. Most of the cases appear to be where there are concentrations of humans. Such concentrations are less common in the Dakotas than in the 7-county metro area here.

    That said, I, too, am more than a little curious about why long-term care facilities are so dangerous in Minnesota. Even if we leave out a comparison to long-term care facilities in other states and just look at Minnesota, when 80% of the deaths are coming from a particular kind of living arrangement, it merits closer study. Is MDH doing that, and if so, what have they discovered? An 80% fatality rate is way beyond any statistical norm I can think of – it’s not a random occurrence.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/11/2020 - 10:22 am.

      I suspect it’s not that LTC facilities are more dangerous in MN vs SD or WI, but rather, the odds of a care worker getting exposed/infected are higher. That said, LTC facility conditions are almost universally atrocious, especially if you’re poor. That’s because, at least in part, they are designed to make money for the owners of such facilities, and the staff is often overworked and underpaid. I suspect the average difference in income for a LTC worker vs the general population in SD is quite a bit lower than in MN. You get what you pay for.

      • Submitted by Joe Smith on 06/11/2020 - 01:50 pm.

        Nothing you said explains an over 80% rate of total deaths coming from LTC facilities in Minnesota. As I have stated, Florida, with a much higher percentage of older folks living there, has 40% less deaths coming from LTC facilities, why?

        • Submitted by BK Anderson on 06/11/2020 - 02:23 pm.

          Largely because, as a data-manipulating Trumpite state, they are hiving off Covid-related deaths and counting them differently than MN. As well as generally hiding data, as has been extensively reported.

          We’ll see where FL is when all the “excess” deaths of the first 6 months of 2020 are (someday) revealed. Only suppressing data will shield Trump’s little helper DeSantis then…

      • Submitted by Sarah Brady on 06/13/2020 - 04:05 pm.

        Look at the state STD rates. Direct correlation.

        Track behaviors surrounding STD infection (poly, cheating, unsafe sex)

  7. Submitted by Bill Williams on 06/12/2020 - 08:24 pm.

    Regarding this comment from above:
    Nothing you said explains an over 80% rate of total deaths coming from LTC facilities in Minnesota. As I have stated, Florida, with a much higher percentage of older folks living there, has 40% less deaths coming from LTC facilities, why?
    —————————-
    I live in MN.
    It’s known that affluent people move to Florida to retire, mainly because of the weather.
    Has any sane person ever moved to Minnesota to retire because of the weather?

    The LTC facilities in FL are probably, probably nicer because the senior citizens have a lot more money, so the LTC facilities can charge them more, and pay nurses and doctors more, etc. I lived in FL, but only for 5 months, so I’m just guessing.

  8. Submitted by Sarah Brady on 06/13/2020 - 03:52 pm.

    No judgement here.
    https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2018/08/stds-are-record-high-both-nationally-and-minnesota/

    The state of Minnesota has a higher incidence of STDs across the board compared to Wisconsin. The rate of HPV, including that which causes cervical cancer, is also higher in Minnesota.

    You have more polyamorous people.

    There are parallels with other states as well.
    Look at Ohio for instance. Ohio has an incredibly higher rate of STDs compared to Minnesota, which has a higher rate compared to Wisconsin.

    Ohio is getting hammered on by coronavirus.

    Within retirement communities, people have sex.
    Within different communities, people have swex.

    However, there is a direct correlation between STD prevalence and coronavirus.

    I cannot believe I am the only person to see the statistical data on this and make the connection.

    Of course a logically fallacious person would say, “but kids do not have sex”. Well, the parents do, or, one of the parents came in contact with someone who does.

    Right now the dating apps are swarming with people in closed marriages, as well as on CL in all states. However, look at the numbers, the frequency of those who engage in unsafe practices. Directly proportional correlation with STD rate.

  9. Submitted by e m currie on 06/24/2020 - 10:29 am.

    Is this really a mystery though? Minnesota is continues to transfer COVID positive cases from the hospitals to the nursing homes. Wisconsin did not/is not doing this.

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