Daily COVID-19 briefing: Updated numbers, multi-system inflammatory syndrome and remdesivir

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 multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, which has been associated with COVID-19.

Updated COVID-19 numbers:

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm gave an update on the COVID-19 numbers locally and around the world. Worldwide, there are over 5.1 million cases and 333,000 deaths. In the United States, there are over 1.47 million cases and 94,700 deaths. Locally, in Minnesota, there was a record-high number of new daily cases, up over 800 from Thursday. The total is at 19,005 confirmed cases. There was also a record high number of daily deaths statewide at 33. The total confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota is now at 842. Twenty-seven of the 33 new deaths were residents of long-term care facilities.

Below are some other takeaways from Friday’s update:

  • In accordance with a proclamation issued by President Donald Trump, Gov. Tim Walz ordered all flags at state and local buildings be flown at half staff effective this afternoon and through sunset on Sunday in memory of those we have lost to COVID-19.
  • Malcolm made note that African Americans make up about 6% of Minnesota’s population. Currently, they make up 23% of the state’s total COVID-19 cases. Officials are noting this disparity and working on solutions.
  • A possible case of multi-system inflammatory syndrome is being investigated in Minnesota. Medical records are being reviewed to determine whether the child fits the symptoms to be an official case.
  • Testing volume has seen an uptick with 1,200 more tests Thursday. Officials expect to see an increase in the number of cases as testing goes up. The state is averaging about 7,000 tests per day currently.
  • Free COVID-19 testing will be available through the holiday weekend (Saturday through Monday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at six National Guard facilities. Those facilities are the armories in East St. Paul, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Duluth, Faribault and St. James.
  • When asked about the status of religious services, Malcolm said Walz is in dialogue with faith leaders and that the state is waiting on more guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malcolm noted that there have been some outbreaks happening at religious services around the county and that services tend to have higher transmissibility due to length of proximity, singing, activities and other factors.
  • In response to a question regarding the partisanship surrounding face coverings, Malcolm stated that there is more and more evidence that masks are an important protective measure and that individuals are helping protect not only themselves but their neighbors as well.
  • Malcolm called the canceling of the Minnesota State Fair "sad news," but said, from a public health perspective, that it was a good choice. MDH had conversations with fair leaders advising that the virus would be at dangerous levels for some amount of time, yet.
  • More remdesivir shipments were received Wednesday afternoon and the state expects another shipment this week. The amount is not enough to treat every patient with severe symptoms. "Wish there was more remdesivir in the state," said state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield.