Situation Update for Wednesday, Oct. 14

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,214 cases today, bringing the state’s cumulative case total to 115,763.

The Situation Update website now includes antigen positive and PCR positive case total.

“Antigen testing is a technology used to determine whether someone is actively infected with COVID-19, just like the lab-based PCR tests that to this point have been the primary testing systems used in the COVID-19 response. One advantage of antigen tests is that they generate results more quickly than the traditional PCR method. Another advantage is that they can be used by providers who do not have a full laboratory set up to do testing,” said a release.

“Even with these advantages, there are some drawbacks. Antigen tests are not considered to be as reliable as PCR tests. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided large numbers of antigen tests to long-term care facilities to conduct the frequent testing required by the federal officials, but it is not clear whether the antigen testing devices provided to states by the federal government are sufficiently accurate when used to test people without symptoms.”

The state recorded there have been a total 180 of these antigen (saliva) positive tests, but these case totals do not appear to be included with the traditional PCR (swab) test totals.

Over 2.357 million PCR tests have been completed, and 16,183 antigen tests have been completed.

To date, 103,830 COVID patients no longer need to be isolated.

The state recorded 29 new COVID deaths today, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,180.

COVID-19 testing capacity in the state has increased by nearly 65 percent since early September, but coronavirus cases are now growing faster than testing.  Assistant Health Commissioner Dan Huff said Tuesday they are opening the second saliva testing site Wednesday at the Winona Mall.  Another saliva site will open Saturday in Moorhead and next Tuesday in Brooklyn Park. 

Huff says this new saliva program, piloted with the Duluth site last month, allows the state to continue to grow and diversify their testing capacity to meet this demand.  He says they also plan to launch a new COVID-19 saliva testing at home kit in the next few weeks.

MDH recorded 27 new COVID cases in Beltrami County today, bringing the county’s case total to 683 with six deaths; six new cases in Cass County, total of 267 cases and four deaths; five new cases in Clearwater County, total of 57 cases; 16 new cases in Hubbard County, total of 231 cases and one death; 12 new cases in Itasca County, total of 597 cases and 16 deaths; one new case in Koochiching County, total of 147 cases and four deaths; and two new cases in Mahnomen County, total of 78 with one death.

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