Coronavirus in one state (115)

The public health authorities want us to know that we the dangers of COVID-19 abide. New case counts are increasing slightly faster than testing. The testing positivity rate has exceeded an arbitrary threshold of concern. Hospitalizations are up, but not much. Yet the death toll creeps in this petty pace from day to day. Taking the the deaths attributed to the disease by the authorities yesterday, we had five new deaths — four of which were in long-term care facilities.

Life goes on and provides new opportunities for the spread of the disease. That is the message I heard at yesterday’s press briefing (audio below), if not exactly in those words. MPR’s Catherine Richert observed that three of the five indicators followed by the Department of Health are “in the caution range” and “headed in the wrong direction.” Are they thinking about tightening the screws?

They may be thinking about it, but they aren’t talking about it before November 3. That much I can tell you. As Pulitzer Prize winning Star Tribune health care reporter Jeremy Olson noted at about 13:30, Republicans have now promised to open things up if they take majorities in both houses of the Minnesota legislature. What does the department foresee if that were to happen? They foresee nothing good, but they steer clear of saying anything that might aggravate the widespread resentment of Governor Walz’s seemingly sempiternal regime of one-man rule.