MDH COVID-19 briefing: Reaction to Fairview’s announcement, Trump’s contacts, updated CDC guidance

Monday, Minnesota health officials provided the latest update on the state’s COVID-19 situation.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and Director of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Kris Ehresmann talked about President Donald Trump, voting safely and an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, in response to an announcement by Fairview Health Services Monday about job cuts and significant changes to hospitals, Malcolm said MDH is aware of the situation and they’ve been assured capacity for hospitals will remain similar to what it currently is but they’ll keep a close eye on it.

As for the upcoming election, Malcolm talked about people finding the best way to vote safely. She and Ehresmann touted voting by mail as the safest way but said there are also some other measures people can take if they would rather vote in person. Malcolm said voting at off-peak times on Election Day will help reduce the risk of community spread. However, anyone who is sick is urged to stay home on Election Day, and Malcolm noted that’s one of the biggest things to think about and understand why voting early or by mail could be helpful.

KSTP’s complete election coverage

The CDC also updated its guidance on COVID-19 and airborne spread Monday, which Malcolm said MDH is following. However, Malcolm and Ehresmann said it’s not necessarily new information to the guidance they’ve put out but reinforced MDH’s guidance.

CDC updates COVID-19 airborne spread guidance again

As for recent contacts with President Trump, who announced Monday that he was leaving a military hospital he’d been at since Friday, Malcolm and Ehresmann reiterated that anyone who was about six feet away from him or less for about 15 minutes should quarantine for 14 days. As for the three congressmen who flew Friday night after being possibly exposed to Trump, Ehresmann said she doesn’t know their level of contact with Trump but if they believe they were exposed, they should quarantine for 14 days.

3 new COVID-19 deaths, 982 new cases, MDH reports

As of Monday, Minnesota’s seven-day rolling average case positivity rate is 5.2%, down from 5.4% last week. Minnesota has been above 5% for nine consecutive days, now.

KSTP’s complete COVID-19 coverage