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Coronavirus Daily Briefing: Rolling average positivity rate up slightly, officials wait to see impact of weekend gatherings

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: July 06, 2020 03:54 PM
Created: July 06, 2020 01:39 PM

Monday, state health officials provided the latest update on the state's COVID-19 situation.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm and State Epidemiologist and Medical Advisor Dr. Ruth Lynfield talked about a variety of topics, including potential hotspots from weekend gatherings, good trends in Minnesota and possible factors behind those trends.

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Since MDH didn't report new case information on Saturday due to the holiday, health officials said the best way to track the weekend might be based on averages. Malcolm said the state averaged a little over 11,000 tests per day over the weekend and averaged around 400 positive cases per day, which is around a 3.5% positivity rate.

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Below are some other statistics MDH noted:

— The state's seven-day rolling average case positivity rate is up from 2.6% last week to 4%.

— The median age of patients continues to steadily decline and is down to 38.4 years of age from 41.5 at the beginning of June.

— They've started to track case growth in a new way. Instead of case doubling time, MDH is looking at cases per 100,000 residents in a week, which makes it easier to identify outbreaks and is population-based, so it can be compared between regions.

— As of Monday, the statewide rolling 7-day average was 7.7 per 100,000 people.

— Over the past week, we've seen a 14.9% increase in number of tests per day, 7.6% increase in number of positives, which is a good trend because it's a lower positivity rate.

— Malcolm said 38% of long-term care facilities that have reported COVID-19 cases haven't reported a new case in a month while 80% that have had at least one case haven't reported a new case in the past week.

While the state's rolling average positivity rate is up slightly, the state has been doing well recently in a couple of the more important categories.

Malcolm and Lynfield credited a few factors for having fewer hospitalizations and deaths recently in Minnesota. A big one is controlling the spread at congregate care facilities and helping patients in those settings due to how vulnerable they are. Another factor is more younger people, some of whom are better suited to fight the virus, are contracting COVID-19 than older people. However, health officials warn that the virus is infectious and can affect people of all ages in serious manners. Finally, the use of preventative measures, like social distancing and face masks, as well as a better understanding of treating the virus can also be factors.

MDH reports 434 new COVID-19 cases, 3 additional deaths

Lynfield noted that MDH still has concerns about community spread and understands that while people better suited to fight the virus may be testing positive this week, it could lead to hospitalizations or deaths at a later week if they're making contact with others.

As for any possible hotspots that might develop due to gatherings over the Fourth of July weekend, Malcolm said they'll be watching but will have to wait to see what develops over the next few weeks. She did note that they got some encouraging reports about people still taking precautions for gatherings and is hopeful that more outdoor gatherings will limit hotspots.


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