State briefs on pandemic response


April 3, 2020

Compiled from reports via Pine Knot News partner Minnesota Public Radio.

Afflicted age range is 0 to 104

The median age of Minnesota’s confirmed COVID-19 cases is 47, but the median age of those who’ve needed hospitalization is 64, and it is 84 for those who’ve died of the disease. The age range for all confirmed cases has run from 4 months to age 104.

Community spread is climbing

Thirty percent of identified cases are now considered tied to community spread, the largest single category of exposure listed by the Health Department. International travel accounts for 15 percent, with 3 percent from cruise ship exposure.

Hot spot found

With 29 positive COVID-19 tests, Martin County on the Minnesota-Iowa border continued to account for the largest number of cases outside of the Twin Cities metro area and Rochester.

Recent deaths included a 76-year-old from Winona County and an 81-year-old from hard-hit Martin County, said Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director.

Child care help

Minnesota legislators approved $30 million to help child care providers who’ve been hurt because of a significant drop in attendance due to COVID-19. Walz said children of essential workers will need providers to stay afloat to help care for them during this crisis.

Child Care Aware of Minnesota will administer the grants.

Job claims up

Steve Grove, the employment and economic development commissioner, told reporters Wednesday that the number of unemployment applications is up to 272,766 since March 16.

Grove said jobless applicants should expect to receive unemployment compensation “a week or two after you apply, and we will backdate from the day you were separated from your work.”

State address is still on in St. Paul

At the height of a public health emergency, Gov. Tim Walz will speak to the state’s residents on Sunday.

It won’t be before the Legislature, as is tradition. Instead, Walz will speak from the governor’s residence where he is nearing the end of a two-week self-quarantine after coming in contact with a person who has COVID-19.

The Walz remarks are scheduled for 7 p.m.

Walz won’t be the first to speak from the residence — former Gov. Jesse Ventura delivered his final State of the State from there in 2002.

Walz said he remains “deeply concerned” about the financial hit businesses and citizens were taking now and understood the first-of-the-month stress people are under as they face April bills.

Mayo offers quick test help

Researchers at Mayo Clinic expect to release a test that would tell whether a person has had and recovered from COVID-19 on Monday. The University of Minnesota is also narrowing in on an antibody test.

The tests would help public health officials understand the scope of the outbreak and identify people who could safely be in public to help with relief efforts. They would also help in an effort to treat critical COVID-19 patients with plasma from individuals who have recovered.

Elitza Theel is director of the Mayo Clinic lab testing COVID-19 antibody tests. She spoke with MPR News host Tom Crann Wednesday.


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