MN Government Updates 09.21

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.

 Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm reported 937 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 90,942.
  • There were 1,318 COVID-19 cases on Saturday. This is a new one-day case record for Minnesota.
  • Just under 17,000 COVID-19 tests were reported to the state yesterday.
  • There were four additional deaths due to COVID-19. Two of the deaths were residents of long-term care facilities. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 1,969.
  • Currently, 255 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 128 of those in the ICU.
  • Hospitalizations increased by seven.
  • ICU bed use increased by five.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average is 4.4% as of September 12. This is down from 4.8% from the week prior.

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

  • Director Ehresmann said that the record high case number from Saturday – 1,318 cases – does not reflect a reporting backlog of cases. It likely reflects the return to school and other activities.
  • She also noted that there is an apparent reluctance by people who receive calls from public health investigators to share key information about how they may have been infected with COVID-19. According to Ehresmann, not sharing such information will lead to prolonged COVID-19 challenges in the community – including increased spread in schools, within sporting teams, and at workplaces.

Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff, Health Protection Bureau

  • Assistant Commissioner Huff announced that the state will open a semi-permanent COVID-19 saliva testing site in Duluth on Wednesday, September 23.
  • Testing will be open to all who believe they need a COVID-19 test. There is no requirement for identification or insurance. The site is open to anyone who believes they should be tested – regardless of whether the individual has symptoms.
  • The Duluth site will operate Wednesday to Friday from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM. It will also be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. While individuals are encouraged to register in advance, walk-ins will be accepted.
  • Tests will be shipped to a lab in New Jersey until the Minnesota lab is operational in mid-October. Test results will be available within 24-48 hours of the sample reaching the lab.
  • This site, which is the first of 10 semi-permanent testing sites across the state, marks the first time saliva testing will be available to the general public in Minnesota.
  • The Minnesota saliva testing lab, which will be located in Oakdale, is in the process of hiring and training lab employees. This new lab will process as many as 30,000 samples a day – greatly increasing testing capacity in the state. Saliva testing reduces the need for extra supplies like PPE because a clinician will not have to use a nasal swab.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
100 Washington Avenue S | Suite 2200 | Minneapolis MN  55401

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