Minnesota COVID-19 briefing: Updated numbers, 1 million tests performed, infectious person attended crowded rodeo

Charlie Wiese
Updated: July 31, 2020 04:40 PM
Created: July 31, 2020 03:26 PM

Minnesota Department of Health officials and guests addressed an array of topics during Friday's COVID-19 briefing, including an update on state and national coronavirus numbers, the milestone of passing 1 million tests performed in Minnesota and an infectious case of COVID-19 being confirmed at a crowded rodeo in Itasca County.

Numbers update:

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

Worldwide, cases passed 17 million with deaths just shy of 700,000. In the United States, cases have surpassed 4.4 million and deaths stand just over 152,000. 

In Minnesota, there were 779 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 54,463 since the pandemic began. Six additional deaths were also reported, which brings the total in Minnesota to 1,600 deaths from COVID-19.

Hospitalization in Minnesota increased by 14, up to 312 and there were 10 new Intensive Care patients bringing the state's total of COVID-19 ICU patients up to 151.

Crossed 1 million tests:

Minnesota passed the 1 million tests conducted milestone on Thursday, according to Malcolm. "The infrastructure we have built has allowed us to build testing capacity," she continued. Thursday, 16,660 tests were conducted. However, Malcolm also noted that supply challenges have reemerged. She urged that testing symptomatic patients is still the state's primary focus in testing, however, there are exceptions to that rule such as asymptomatic patients who are scheduled to undergo a medical procedure.

William Morice, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Mayo Clinic's Dept. of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories said that Mayo alone has conducted 424,000 tests on Minnesotans.

Morice also noted that they are building up testing capacity but resources are being stretched. He also urged Minnesotans to continue to be vigilant and continue wearing masks and social distancing.

Tim Schacker, vice dean for research at the University of Minnesota Medical School said the U of M is conducting around 6,000 tests per day, and while supply issues are a challenge, the U of M has produced their own PCR test which is less sensitive to supply chain issues.

"We are far from out of the woods," Schacker pointed out.

Rodeo case:

Commissioner Malcolm announced that MDH has confirmed that a person who attended the North Star Stampede Rodeo in Effie, Itasca County, had tested positive for COVID-19 and was said to be infectious at the event. Malcolm said that they know many people were at the event, many unmasked and not social distancing. She said that there is a possibility for other exposures and if you attended the event to consider avoiding public activities.

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