MN Government Updates 12.20

Minnesota Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, 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 and discuss COVID-19 vaccination plans.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm reported 1,998 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 399,311. The last time the state has had fewer than 2,000 cases in a day was October 27.
  • Yesterday, 33,391 COVID-19 lab tests were processed.
  • Another 21 Minnesotans died due COVID-19, 11 of which were residents of long-term care facilities. This brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 4,872.
  • Currently, 1,040 patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19 with 237 of those in the ICU.
  • Compared to last week, 270 fewer hospital beds are in use for COVID-19 patients.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average is 8.9%.
  • Commissioner Malcolm said the downward trends for cases and hospitalizations highlight how Minnesotans have taken precautionary measures to avoid gatherings. It has had a positive impact and created respite for hospitals and health systems. However, Minnesotans will need to continue social distancing and wearing masks as vaccines are rolling out.
  • COVID-19 testing sites will be closed December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1.

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

  • The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has voted which groups should be in Phase 1B for vaccination. While essential workers remain in the Phase 1B category (as expected), adults 75 and older are also now in that group.
  • Minnesota’s vaccine allocation advisory committee will meet next week and again in January to further sub-prioritize the federal guidelines for vaccination.
  • The state hopes to be done vaccinating Phase 1A by the end of January. However, that depends on allocations of the vaccine from the federal government not decreasing.
  • Over 2,900 healthcare workers in Minnesota have been vaccinated.
  • When asked about the state’s level of concern about the variant strain of the virus that is spreading in the U.K., Director Ehresmann responded, “At this point, the vaccine will continue to be effective against the virus.”

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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