MDH COVID-19 briefing: Moderna vaccine shipment problems, reminder to follow guidelines and updated numbers

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials addressed an array of topics during Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing, including Moderna vaccine shipment delays, reminding Minnesotans to follow guidelines and an update on the latest data.

Updated numbers:

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm gave an update on COVID-19 numbers around the world as well as in Minnesota.

Worldwide, cases passed 78.4 million with deaths just over 1.7 million. In the United States, cases have surpassed 18.3 million and deaths were over 324,000 as of Wednesday.

In Minnesota, there were 1,513 newly reported cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 402,519 since the pandemic began. There were 75 additional deaths also reported, moving the total in Minnesota to 4,971 deaths from COVID-19.

Malcolm also reported there have been 20,963 hospitalized patients since the pandemic began in Minnesota, with 4,474 patients having been in the Intensive Care Unit.

MDH: 75 new COVID-19 deaths, 1,513 newly reported cases

Moderna vaccine shipment delays:

MDH was informed that there were shipping delays for the recently approved Moderna vaccine, according to MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann. She said MDH was told that the delays are on the side of the federal government, however, inclement weather in Minnesota is also expected to cause shipment delays.

Even without the current vaccine shipment delays, Ehresmann noted that they know that not everyone will be able to get the vaccine right away. That is the reason for the three tiers of categories in the first stage of vaccination.

The long-term goal, however, according to Ehresmann, is to allow everyone that wants a vaccine, to get one.

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COVID guidelines reminder:

Malcolm said that, while cases are dropping, Minnesotans must realize that the infection rate is still at a high level. While signs are encouraging, she urged Minnesotans to continue following COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing, mask-wearing and frequent hand washing.

Importantly, she also noted that Minnesotans should limit gatherings during the holidays and make sure that no more than three households and 15 people gather at once.

Watch the full press conference below.