Minnesota health experts concerned with new daily COVID-19 record

Created: October 16, 2020 10:59 PM

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin saw record highs in new daily COVID-19 cases reported on Friday. Minnesota saw 2,297 new cases compared to 3,861 in Wisconsin.
Health officials say the rise in cases is not related to the new antigen testing introduced this week. 


The simple answer is that access to no barrier testing is showing a growing danger of community spread. 
"I’m very saddened and I’m frankly deeply worried about today's numbers, but I’m sadly not surprised," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. 

In 12 of the past 16 days, Minnesota’s new COVID cases have been over 1,000. But this is the first time where they've crossed 2,000 in one day. 

State health experts say they're coming from wide community spread.

"This is not because of one particular large event or gathering and it is not because of one large known outbreak,” said Malcom. “Instead it is the result of just steady inexorable spread in communities across the state."

Commissioner Malcolm says the spread is fueled by asymptomatic people who don't know they have the coronavirus. 

Although the numbers are high, the health department saw the potential for widespread cases coming.

"We’ve talked about it coming and about that ripple effect of cases across the summer and how it would begin to build and our numbers would increase,” said Kris Ehresmann, Minnesota Director of Infectious Disease Division.

And more healthcare workers are getting sick but experts say they seem to be getting it from household members not necessarily at work. 

With the Midwest being a coronavirus hot spot, other area medical teams are seeing similar trends.

"We have talked to other health care symptoms and our experience is not unique,” said Ehresman. “It is affecting other hospitals as well." 

The health department knows people are tired of guidelines and they are too. But they say if we work together on simple prevention, we'll get out of this sooner. Wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay home if you're sick.

“If we all do these things consistently, they can make such an impact,” says Malcolm. “And these actions don't just protect your or your families, they protect others."

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