MDH COVID-19 briefing: Cases linked to Martin County funeral, latest on multisystem inflammatory syndrome

Wednesday, Minnesota health officials provided another update on the COVID-19 situation in the state.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann and Medical Director Dr. Ruth Lynfield discussed a variety of topics, including guidelines for Halloween activities, an outbreak linked to a funeral in Martin County and the latest on multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

Dr. Lynfield said 25 children in Minnesota have had confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is believed to be associated with COVID-19. Those patients ranged in age from 6 months old to 16 with a median age of 4.

Dr. Lynfield said 88% of those children had positive cases of COVID-19 and others had exposures to confirmed cases. Of those cases, 68% were previously healthy, 60% required intensive care and 75% had evidence of heart involvement. Fortunately, none are currently hospitalized and zero resulted in deaths in the state, thus far.

She also noted that those 25 cases in Minnesota are out of more than 15,000 total COVID-19 cases in patients ages 0-19. However, Black and Hispanic children have been disproportionately impacted, accounting for 76% of the state’s cases, similar to the national rate of 70%.

According to Dr. Lynfield, Nationally, 935 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including 19 deaths.

Ehresmann also talked about a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a Martin County funeral.

According to Ehresmann, the funeral took place on Sept. 9 and between 150 and 200 people attended, with most not following mask and social distance requirements. She said 33 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the funeral so far, and 17 additional cases have been linked to the church where the funeral was held.

Ehresmann took the time to urge Minnesotans to follow the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus in the state.

COVID-19 and Halloween: How to celebrate

Ehresmann also was asked about guidance for Halloween events, such as trick-or-treating. While Halloween is still over a month away, she noted that the CDC has posted guidance that breaks down different Halloween activities into different risk categories to help people come up with safe options.

She noted, however, that Halloween masks are not a substitute for cloth masks.

Minnesota’s seven-day average testing positivity rate is at 4.6%, down from 4.8% last week, Malcolm said. The state overall has been below a 5% average testing positivity rate for 12 consecutive days now, although some areas of the state are above that, Malcolm said.

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