Coronavirus in one state (123)

Life goes on, and that seems to be the problem. The highly contagious COVID-19 virus continues to spread through human contact. Yesterday the authorities reported 5,454 new “cases” up from about 3,800 the day before. Hospitalizations are above 1,000 across the state. In the number that I follow most closely, they reported 36 new deaths.

Please note that 24 of these 36 fatalities occurred among residents of long-term care facilities or in congregate care. By my count, 23 of the 26 decedents were in their 80’s (13), 90’s (9), or 100’s (one). The three Department of Health officials and one guest on yesterday’s press briefing (audio below) omitted the LTC numbers and age distribution. Why would they do that?

The authorities find us blameworthy for not following the public health guidance they repeat in their press briefings. Yesterday’s briefing seemed to me to reach a crescendo in this respect. In the congregate care settings under their jurisdiction, however, the results they have achieved are not impressive.

That’s where we come in. They blame us for transmitting the disease via “community spread to staff working inside the facilities. Commissioner Malcolm says she hopes that the dramatic case count numbers and hospitalizations this week will make us realize “this is serious.”

MDH officials briefing the press didn’t mention the LTC numbers, but they did focus on the LTC setting. Among the speakers were MDH Health Regulation Director Michelle Larson and Annette Greely, president of Jones-Harrison Residence in Minneapolis. Larson updated the assembled multitude on the department’s “5-point battle plan” to fight the disease in the LTC setting. As I understood Larson, they have done an excellent job with the “battle plan.” It’s almost funny.

Greely observed that the disease was brought into her facility by asymptomatic employees. It makes me wonder about the pretense of control over the disease that underlies the edicts and battle plans. Like me, my friend Kevin Roche listened in and remained unimpressed. Kevin’s comments here.

Malcolm emphasized: “Our behavior is driving this.” I take it that we are on the cusp of a new edict or two that purports to do something about it.

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