Daily COVID-19 briefing: Updated numbers and long-term care guidelines

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) leaders addressed an array of topics during Friday’s COVID-19 daily briefing, including an update on state and national coronavirus numbers and long-term care facility updates.

Updated numbers:

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm gave an update on COVID-19 numbers locally and around the world. Worldwide, there are over 7.5 million cases and 423,000 deaths. In the United States, there are over two million cases and 114,000 deaths. Locally in Minnesota, there are 490 new cases recorded and 25 more deaths. Those numbers bring the state’s total cases to 29,795 and deaths to 1,274. The 490 new cases makes this the third straight day of increasing numbers of cases in the state, however, it also comes with the state’s new highest daily testing number. 13,400 tests were performed over the last day.

Long term care updates:

MDH director of infectious disease epidemiology, prevention and control Kris Ehresmann said that they are aware of the toll that family separation can be regarding visits to long-term care facilities. MDH is looking into different visiting policies that may be implemented in the future, such as outdoor visits. Ehresmann said that they must maintain the right balance of limiting visitors to help keep COVID-19 out of facilities. The state has seen a drop in long-term care spread and deaths in recent days and weeks, which shows that when facilities practice correct procedures and use PPE that they can turn the tide of the virus.

Other takeaways:

  • MDH officials reiterated that those involved in mass gatherings should go out and get tested for free at one of the state’s sites.
  • Officials have seen states that are ahead of Minnesota in the curve recently see upticks in cases following reopening. The state wants to have a good sense of how things play out, so they can adjust as needed.
  • Ehresmann reminds people to continue following social distancing guidelines so as not to see another wave of illness.