Coronavirus Daily Briefing: 9-month-old dies in Minn., CDC to help analyze samples

Minnesota health officials on Monday provided the latest COVID-19 updates, including some sad news.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm and MDH Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann said, of the four COVID-19 deaths reported Monday, one was a 9-month-old, the youngest victim in Minnesota yet. Malcolm and Ehresmann said they believe it’s also one of the youngest COVID deaths in the entire country.

MDH called the infant’s death "devastating" and very rare. Ehresmann said they want to make sure they can understand as much as possible about physiological change the child had while sick. To help analyze the infant’s death, some of the test samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for extended analysis. She added that the child didn’t have any underlying health conditions and wasn’t ever hospitalized.

Because of the rarity of infant deaths due to COVID thus far, Ehresmann said they’re hoping that working collectively with the CDC will help provide more answers for how the virus affected the infant.

KSTP’s Complete COVID-19 Coverage

Malcolm and Ehresmann also weighed in on what a mandatory mask requirement might do in Minnesota, should one be ordered.

"We don’t have the staff to enforce every situation but I think it sends an important message about masks," Ehresmann said. Malcolm added that a mandate reinforces the expectation that everyone should be wearing a mask.

They also noted that data increasingly shows that masks help in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

As for if a mask mandate may come soon, Malcolm said she knows Gov. Tim Walz is still considering it and hoping the Legislature may pass some legislation on it but doesn’t know if that will happen.

DPS warns 14 Minnesota bars, restaurants over COVID violations

Finally, MDH noted that data migration over the weekend created a "bottleneck" in terms of vetting results and that means results reported over the next few days will be "choppy," Ehresmann said. She added that MDH is working to get through and vet about 600 cases that are still in the queue, but it may mean results the next few days fluctuate more than usual.

MDH: 4 new COVID-19 deaths, including death of child; 922 additional cases