MN Government Updates 06.29

Walz Announces More Than Half a Million COVID-19 Tests in Minnesota

Governor Tim Walz today announced the state has completed more than half a million COVID-19 tests and has reached the milestone of developing a daily capacity of 20,000 COVID-19 molecular tests. Governor Walz says the milestone is thanks to Minnesota’s advanced COVID-19 testing program, first announced two months ago.

“We know when Minnesota comes together as one, we can achieve near-impossible tasks,” said Governor Walz. “I am proud of the Minnesota Department of Health’s partnership with Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and our state’s health systems to expand our testing capacity, allow us to more accurately track the course of the infection, and keep all Minnesotans safe.”

To date, the state has completed a total of 592,955 tests. As part of the state’s testing command center, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota (U of M) are now able to provide additional testing capacity to more than 265 health care organizations across the state. When health care providers need more testing capacity than they have available at their local laboratories, or an outbreak emerges, the state initiative’s testing command center connects the provider with COVID-10 diagnostic testing through Mayo Clinic Laboratories or U of M labs. The state has deployed this resource for numerous pop-up testing events, including Duluth, Moorhead, St. James, and Faribault, as well as in Mower County and in Minneapolis and Saint Paul following protests and large gatherings in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Mayo Clinic has been instrumental in providing the courier infrastructure to bring specimens to labs for testing from anywhere in the state, and to deliver supplies, computers, and label printers directly to collection sites in order to streamline the entire process.

The University of Minnesota transformed their labs, previously used for research, into COVID-19 testing facilities. The U of M is also a leader in transformational research on infectious diseases and is helping to advance research that will continue to inform testing strategies in future phases.

For information on how to receive a COVID-19 test, visit mn.gov/covid19.

Walz Press Conference

Governor Tim Walz

During the press conference announcing the testing milestone, Governor Walz was asked if there is an agreement on another special session. He responded that he has been in touch with all four caucus leaders, but there is no agreement as of yet. The governor highlighted police reform and bonding as issues that need to be addressed in the next special session and suggested Friday, July 10th as the potential date.

Governor Walz also said he’s considering whether to issue a mandate on mask-wearing for indoor buildings statewide.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state now has had 35,861 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is up 315 over yesterday’s report.
  • There were 10 new deaths due to COVID-19. This brings the state total to 1,435 deaths.
  • Currently, 278 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 140 of those in the ICU.
  • The number of hospitalizations are down 10 since yesterday.
  • ICU bed use is down three over yesterday. This is the lowest level of ICU utilization since May 1.
  • The seven-day test positivity rate for COVID-19 is 4.4%.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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