MN Government Updates 10.26

Minnesota Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, Governor Tim Walz and officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Governor Tim Walz

  • Governor Walz said the state is at a critical point in the fight against COVID-19.
  • The governor met with Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, over the weekend. Dr. Birx said that the Upper Midwest is at a critical juncture with COVID-19, but that Minnesota still has the capacity to stop from occurring what has happened in surrounding states.
  • The next 6-12 weeks are going to be key in the fight against COVID-19. The governor implored Minnesotans to follow the Minnesota Department of Health guidance to avoid overwhelming the state’s hospitals.
  • When asked if he is planning to dial-back any of the business openings, Walz responded the state isn’t seeing the virus spread in retail settings and is more focused on getting adherence to state health guidance up among Minnesotans.
  • When asked if he is planning to close schools as well as bars and restaurants in mid-November, the governor said any reports of that happening are not correct and that has not been discussed.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm relayed Dr. Birx’s comments that Minnesota is in a vulnerable position right now and that time is of the essence to double down on COVID-19 prevention strategies.
  • The commissioner reported 1,578 new cases COVID-19. This is the fifth consecutive day with 1,500 cases or more. The state’s total number of COVID-19 cases thus far is now 135,372.
  • Just under 23,500 COVID-19 tests were processed yesterday.
  • There were four additional deaths due to COVID-19 and 39 new deaths since Friday.
  • A total of 9,588 individuals have been hospitalized thus far for COVID-19 with 2,558 of them in the ICU.
  • Currently, 582 individuals are hospitalized for COVID-19. There has been a 70% increase in hospitalizations since last month.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 case positivity average is 6.5% - up from 5.8% a week ago.
  • Case growth from mid-August to mid-September was 22%. Case growth from mid-September to mid-October was 83%.
  • Community transmission, where the origin of transmission of the virus is unknown, has accounted for 78% of cases since October 1.

Director Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division

  • Director Ehresmann said that social gatherings, both small and large, are contributing to the spread of the virus.
  • She encouraged Minnesotans who may not fear a COVID-19 infection to worry for someone else and help protect them by social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, staying home when sick, and geting tested when needed.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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