Jennifer Lewerenz | Oct 26, 2020 AT 10:32 am
(KNSI) – One leading health expert says he is deeply concerned about the day to day increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota as we head indoors for the winter.
Doctor Michael Osterholm, who directs the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says that the public should brace for more troubling reports based on various trends.
“I think we are about to enter the darkest days of the pandemic, not only here in Minnesota, but throughout the entire country. A combination of pandemic fatigue, pandemic anger, and then just the increased frequency of indoor air exposures.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, from October 1st through the 24th, there have been 589,143 tests conducted, up over 200,000 from the first 24 days of September. Of those, there are 10,330 positive cases, for a positivity rate of 5.15%, just over the 5% warning threshold.
He says families might still be planning holiday gatherings, despite the risk of spreading the virus, which he says could lead to a shortage of hospital beds. Osterholm also notes some hospitals might not have enough specialized staff to treat patients in intensive care units.
“The nursing staff that work in intensive care, the entire team – from respiratory therapy across the board – all offer a very, very unique service to these patients that you can’t find just in any other physician or nurse.”
For those hoping to break from isolation during the holidays and meet with family, Osterholm warns it’s almost impossible to avoid any risk, even if there’s an attempt to quarantine before the gathering.
“If you have some family members that do and some that don’t, the chances of the virus entering into that household becomes a huge risk.”
He also says he’s worried that the production of PPE won’t be enough to meet the rising demand, which some healthcare workers KNSI has spoken with say is already happening. Some nurses say they are re-using the mask they were issued back in March when the pandemic started with no timetable given as to when they could get a new one.
Osterholm says the state and nation won’t see real improvement until a safe and effective vaccine is available. This week, the U-S Health and Human Services Secretary said vaccines wouldn’t likely be available to the American public at large until April of next year.
As of Sunday, October 25th, there are 133,802 total positive cases, 2,349 COVID-19 related deaths, with 1,645 of them in long term care or assisted living facilities. 118,485 patients are out of isolation.
- Benton County is reporting 925 total confirmed COVID cases, 96 active cases, 15 probable cases, and nine COVID related deaths.
- Meeker County is reporting 326 total cases and three deaths.
- Morrison County is reporting 718 total confirmed COVID cases, eight probable cases, and nine COVID related deaths.
- Sherburne County is reporting 1,679 total confirmed COVID cases, six probable cases 22 deaths.
- Stearns County is reporting 5,774 total confirmed COVID cases, 449 active cases, 51 probable cases, and 43 deaths.
- Wright County is reporting 2,480 total confirmed COVID cases, three probable cases, and 14 deaths.