MDH COVID-19 briefing: Record-high daily case count, updates on hospital capacity, MDH’s 5-point long-term care plan

In Minnesota, there were 5,454 newly reported cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the state’s total to 170,307 since the pandemic began. There were 36 additional deaths also reported, which brings the total in Minnesota to 2,591 deaths from COVID-19.

Malcolm also reported there have been 11,193 hospitalized patients since the pandemic began in Minnesota, with 2,864 patients having been in the Intensive Care Unit.

The seven-day positivity rate is up to 9.8%, according to Malcolm. That is up from a 7% testing positivity rate from last week.

MDH: Record-shattering 5,454 new COVID-19 cases, 36 new deaths in latest report

Long-term care five-point plan update:

MDH Health Regulation Director Michelle Larson discussed the five-point plan that MDH began implementing in May regarding long-term care facilities.

The first point of the plan was to expand testing to residents and workers in long-term care facilities. By late October, 40,000 tests were being done and the MDH team swabbed and tests an average of 50 facilities per week.

The second point was troubleshooting barriers, which would allow for facilities to order PCR tests more easily. Continuing guidance is being provided to facilities to allow for this.

The third point was to get personal protective equipment (PPE) to facilities. MDH is continuing to push out waves of PPE to these facilities including gowns, masks and gloves.

The fourth point was to provide adequate staffing levels and have crisis managers to help staff facilities. Larson said crisis managers are on-hand to help facilities come up with crisis plans. A plan to help staff facilities with Minnesota National Guard soldiers is in place for the most severe issues.

The fifth point was to leverage partnerships and work with the local health care coalition. Local public health has aided long-term care partners by providing support for testing and staffing, according to MDH.

Currently, only 10% of assisted living facilities in the state have a current outbreak, according to Larson. However, there is concern with the increasing number of cases throughout the state.

Hospital bed availability:

According to the MDH COVID-19 dashboard, available ICU beds in the state dropped by 200. Malcolm said that ICU capacity in the Twin Cities metro area is limited, however, statewide capacity is slightly better. Things are definitely getting tighter around Minnesota though, Malcolm said.

Malcolm went on to say that health systems have been doing a great job and continue to work on reallocating staff and beds to maximize the amount of space available for COVID-19 patients.

Watch the full briefing below: