Situation Update for Thursday, Aug. 27

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,158 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 new COVID-related deaths today, bringing the totals to 72,390 cases and 1,806 deaths.

MDH released a statement on the jump of new cases today:

“The COVID-19 data posted today show 1,158 reported new cases and 21,144 reported test results. These higher counts are partially due to a backlog of data belatedly reported by a Minnesota provider and lab, Valley Medical, which has had an inconsistent record of reporting results to the state despite the requirements of the communicable disease reporting rule.”

According to the statement, Valley Medical provided 19,000 results from the past two weeks, with 265 positive cases included in today’s report. Today’s data set also includes 4,658 tests from the provider. The 14,000 remaining tests will be included in case counts and testing numbers into early next week, as they still need to be processed.

“This belated reporting will affect our daily reports for the next few days. More concerning, delayed reporting also means that 265 people who tested positive for COVID-19 were not contacted by health officials in a timely manner. This creates multiple problems – not only does it mean the person tested is unaware of their infection and the need to self-isolate to protect family, friends and close contacts, but it also delays our case investigation work and makes it harder to slow the spread of this disease. We encourage all providers and laboratories across the state to be diligent and timely in their reporting.”

Of all the COVID-19-related deaths in the state, 1,331 were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Of those positive cases, 8,007 were health care workers.

Over 21,000 tests in total were completed yesterday, with over 1.427 million tests completed overall and over 1.093 million people tested.

To date, 64,876 COVID patients have been released from isolation.

COVID patients in ICU wards across the state slightly, from 134 to 139, with 166 others hospitalized in non-critical hospital settings.

MDH reported six new cases of COVID-19 in Beltrami County today, bringing the cumulative total to 311 cases with one death; one new case in Cass County, total of 99 cases with three deaths; one new case in Hubbard County, total of 42 cases; and eight new cases in Itasca County, total of 181 cases and 12 deaths.

Beltrami Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen reported this morning that the county was monitoring 25 active cases and one hospitalization. There are 200 pending COVID-19 tests, but that was a result of a mass-testing event at a long-term care facility, and Borgen anticipates that to be a short-term backlog.

VACCINES

Minnesota’s Senator Tina Smith recently introduced legislation to make the eventual COVID-19 vaccine free for all Americans.

In a phone call with Bemidji Now, Smith emphasized that the legislation will protect uninsured Americans from surprise bills when getting the vaccine, such as office visit charges.

The legislation is co-sponsored by fellow Democratic Senators Kamala Harris of California and Michael Bennet of Colorado.

According to the New York Times, no vaccines have yet been approved for full use. Currently, there are 35 vaccines in clinical trials on humans and 88 preclinical vaccines are under active investigation in animals.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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