Coronavirus in one state (50)

The authorities attributed 17 new deaths to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 869. Twelve of the 17 deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities and one in a group home. The total of deaths among residents of long-term care facilities and congregate care is 709. LTC deaths account for 81.5 percent of all deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Minnesota. The age breakdown of the 17 new decedents follows the usual pattern: five were in their 90’s, six were in their 80’s, three were in their 70’s, and two were in their 50’s.

Some attention is devoted to the issue of LTC deaths in the papers this weekend. The Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports “Despite deadly toll, Minnesota nursing home residents with COVID-19 still sharing rooms” in today’s paper. The Pioneer Press featured Fred Melo’s story “Short staffed and locked down, here’s how MN care facilities fight coronavirus” on page one yesterday. Melo takes up Governor Walz’s “5-point battle plan” to reduce LTC deaths at the end of his story.

Although we reached a new daily high of deaths (33) this past Friday, the average of the last three days is 20 (33, 10, and 17). The number of those hospitalized according to yesterday’s data was down 15; the number in ICU was down 8. These numbers probably represent nothing more than a one-day blip, but they are all good news.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Star Tribune health care reporter Jeremy Olson is taking the weekend off. He has yet to revisit his panicked weekend story. Olson to the contrary notwithstanding, I am unaware of any serious analysis of hospital or ICU capacity in Minnesota.

On May 13 the authorities rolled out Minnesota Model 3.0 in an eagerly anticipated press briefing. The Minnesota Department of Health attributed a total of 638 deaths to COVID-19 as of May 13, but projected that we would reach a total of 1,441 by the end of the month. I said at the time that Model 3.0 was unable even to “predict” the present. I think that observation has proved to be accurate. We will have to check back at the end of the month for a final assessment.

My friend Andrew Parker invited me to discuss the issues I have been following in this series on his AM 1280 Victory Hour show yesterday afternoon. I’m embedding it below in lieu of the daily press briefing.

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