Coronavirus in one state (54)

KSTP TV’s Tom Hauser made it onto the Minnesota Department of Health’s daily press briefing and got picked from the queue to ask a good question yesterday. His Twitter rant serve him well. Tom asked about the nursing home crisis that has remained the locus of the risk of fatality posed by the COVID-19 epidemic in Minnesota. Tom posed his question at about 18:00 of the briefing audio (below).

Tom observed that things don’t appear to be getting better since Governor Walz rolled out his “5-point bottle plan” for the nursing homes three weeks ago. Indeed, Minnesota nursing home deaths attributed to COVID-19 exceed the toll of all COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin.

Good question, Tom! Health Commissioner Malcolm doesn’t have a good answer. Malcolm responded that (like Wagner’s music according to Mark Twain) it’s not as bad as it sounds. Tom had a devastating response of his own. It’ll be a few weeks before they call on Tom again, but it was worth the wait.

The authorities attributed 35 new deaths to COVID-19, bringing the current total to 967. Twenty-seven of the 35 new decedents were residents of long-term care facilities and group homes, bringing that total to 787. (I can’t correlate the daily totals with the overall totals. These are the totals given by MDH.) Residents of long-term care facilities account for 81.4 percent of all deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The age breakdown of the new decedents follows the usual pattern. Two were in their 100’s, three were in their 90’s, 15 were in their 80’s, six were in their 70’s, four were in their 60’s, three were in their 50’s, one was in his 40’s, and one was in his 30’s (the latter two with “no known underlying condition”).

Infectious Diseases Division Director Kris Ehresmann updated a data point I’ve been following since Tom Hauser first elicited it from her three or four weeks ago. What percentage of all fatalities attributed to COVID-19 is accounted for by decedents with significant underlying medical conditions? The current answer: 97.6 percent.

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