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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Lisa Demuth (R)

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Notes from Gov. Walz's April 22 Media Update

Thursday, April 23, 2020


  • 179 deaths (+19), 2,721 positive cases (+154), 1,317 recovered/off isolation (+63), 240 still hospitalized (+3), 107 in ICU (-10), 49,344 tests (+1,647).
  • Today was deadliest day for fatalities and highest number of positive tests. 
  • Announcing a new partnership with Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, funded by the COVID-19 Minnesota fund, that will establish capacity to deliver 20,000 molecular and 15,000 serology tests per day. This will allow testing of all symptomatic people, and in turn we can isolate and trace contacts for positive cases. 
  • Partnership will help collect data to identify hotspots, conduct further research into how best to treat and prevent COVID-19. 
  • Plan will help Minnesota test at a rate higher than any other state in the country.
  • MDH Commissioner Malcolm: Objectives of testing strategy: ensure testing of all symptomatic Minnesotans, with fastest-possible turnaround, apply test results strategically.
  • Strategies: Rapidly and significantly increase testing capacity throughout the state, fully utilize available and growing capacity in hospital-based labs, reference labs, research labs. Resolve supply chain issues. Reduce cost barriers. Resolve billing issues. 
  • Phase 1 is implementing the strategy. Struck agreement this morning between major hospital systems on priority goals and the need for a central lab capacity to support testing volume. Mayo and UMN have agreed to collaborate to create a central lab to accommodate expanded testing, a virtual command center in coordination with health systems to manage daily flow of testing, and capacity to partner with the state on cutting edge analytics and research to inform testing, treatment, and containment strategies. 
  • Will partner with the legislature on future phases of testing plan for case investigation and contact tracing.
  • UMN's Center for Infectious Disease Director Michael Osterholm said Minnesotans need to take the virus seriously, and that we're still in "first innings." Says virus will not rest until at least 60 to 70 percent of the population has been infected.
  • Commissioner Malcolm says increase in testing numbers should start tomorrow because the direction is now to test every symptomatic person, with focus on vulnerable populations. On ultimate 20,000 test goal Malcolm says she would be kidding if she said it was coming tomorrow. 
  • Mayo and UMN both expressed confidence on the accuracy of the tests that will be conducted.  
  • MDH's goal is for testing to be available at normal primary care setting so people don't have to travel. 
  • MDH building website and call-in number to identify closest available testing site. 
  • Health Partners says it will take time for health providers to ramp up capacity to collect samples. Urges Minnesotans to call before coming into provider. 
  • Gov. Walz says that testing capacity increase is going to be critical for decision-making on Stay at Home order. 
  • Commissioner Malcolm says they started with 20, now up to 100 case investigators. Working to build that capacity for contact tracing and case investigations. 
  • Gov. Walz says more guidance coming in the next day or so for additional businesses (did not specify which industries, but was in response to a question about status of resorts, which are able to be open).  


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