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The daily coronavirus update: 8 more deaths; MDH warns against ‘COVID Parties,’ which are not a real thing

Rumors of people throwing COVID parties — in which people purportedly tried to get COVID-19 — have been widely shared by officials and never turn out to be true.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

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 July 8:

39,589 confirmed cases; 1,485 deaths

Eight more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 1,485.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, two were in their 90s, two were in their 80s, two were in their 60s, one was in their 40s and one was in their 30s. The person in their 30s who died had no known underlying health conditions, while the person in their 40s who died had at least one known underlying health condition. Five of the eight deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,485 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,161 have been among residents of long-term care.

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

MDH also said Wednesday there have been 39,589 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 456 from Tuesday’s count and is based on 7,636 new tests. The seven-day test positivity rate of 4.4 percent is up over 3.6 percent a week ago.You can find the  moving day seven-day positive case average here.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
Evan Frost/MPR/Pool
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the increase represents a significant increase that isn’t particularly surprising given increasing caseloads in other states as things open up, but could also indicate that tests are being administered in communities with high prevalence of COVID-19.

The median age of people testing positive continues to trend down, indicating younger people represent a larger proportion of people who test positive. 

Since the start of the outbreak, 4,272 Minnesotans have been hospitalized. Hospitalizations remain steady, with 265 currently in the hospital, 122 in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 39,589 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 34,902 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

Purported COVID parties

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the MDH has heard some Minnesotans may be considering throwing or attending COVID parties, purported gatherings where people try to get infected with COVID to get it over with, in the hopes of having some immunity in the future (reminder: the jury’s still out on how much immunity people develop).

“This is a really really bad idea,” Ehresmann said Wednesday. “Not only is there a small but real risk of significant illness and complications in young people or anyone who develops COVID, but there’s also a real risk that the virus will be passed on to other family members or even people in the community at higher risk.” 

For the record, rumors of COVID parties in other states, most recently from Alabama, have been shared by officials and turned out to be false. 

In a review of similar stories, Wired found other alleged COVID parties were just rumors, some of which were later walked back by the officials who had repeated them. The press just can’t stop pushing the narrative that people are trying to get themselves infected. … At no point in this chain has anyone bothered to confirm the underlying claim. The whole thing is reminiscent of the supposed scourge, in the mid-2000s, of ‘pharm parties,’ at which America’s wayward teens were said to put their parents’ prescription drugs into a bowl and then consume them at random. This did not really happen.”

Ehresmann said Wednesday there had been no confirmed transmissions from COVID parties in Minnesota, and MinnPost asked for additional information on where MDH’s information about such gatherings came from. 

“This was driven more by a preventive impulse — just reiterating don’t think about it because it is such a bad idea — rather than we’ve had a specific case or credible report that we’ve confirmed,” agency spokesperson Scott Smith wrote in an email.

Testing supplies could tighten again

An increase in COVID-19 cases nationally prompted MDH officials to warn Minnesotans the supply chain for lab materials needed for COVID-19 tests is tightening as demand for them increases and supplies shift to hot spots.

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Due to an uptick in testing, people who are tested for COVID-19 may have to wait longer for test results, too.

National labs are reporting it’s taking four to six days to get results, Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said. That means it could be up to eight days between the time a person is tested and receives a result, including the time it takes to transport the sample and receive results from a provider.

Today on MinnPost

Around the web

  • Some people with mild cases of coronavirus have developed sometimes life-threatening neurological symptoms, the Guardian reports.

MDH’s coronavirus website:

Hotline, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: 651-201-3920

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