ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota health department shifts to weekly COVID reporting

MDH has reported COVID-19 numbers each weekday since spring 2020 when the virus was first identified in Minnesota. Nearly 1.5 million Minnesotans have tested positive for the virus, 66,282 have been hospitalized and 12,792 have died.

COVID-19 testing file
Registered nurse Stephanie Bunich, of Duluth, uses a nasopharyngeal swab to administer a COVID-19 test in September at the Essentia Health drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Miller Hill Mall in Duluth. (File / News Tribune).
We are part of The Trust Project.

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Health will shift from daily to weekly reporting of COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths beginning Thursday, June 30.

The agency said the move is an adaptation as demand continues to drop for laboratory-based COVID-19 screenings at community testing centers. Eight community testing sites are ending regular testing this week in cities including Bemidji and Wadena.

The reporting change is also in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shifting its approach to gauging the public health risk posed by the virus.

"As testing behaviors have changed to include more at-home testing and with the CDC COVID-19 community levels focusing on severe disease, local disease activity, and related impacts, we are implementing more sustainable COVID-19 surveillance and data reporting efforts," the agency said in a statement.

MDH has reported COVID-19 numbers each weekday since spring 2020 when the virus was first identified in Minnesota. Nearly 1.5 million Minnesotans have tested positive for the virus, 66,282 have been hospitalized and 12,792 have died.

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota continues to report thousands of new cases each day, but fewer people are dying from COVID-19 than did during surges of earlier variants of the virus. The current dominant omicron variant and its subvariants are generally more contagious and less deadly than the delta variant, which dominated U.S. cases in the second half of 2021.

Daily case counts have not given as complete of a picture of community infection levels as fewer people get tested for COVID-19 through health care providers or state testing sites. In the past six months, sewage data has proven invaluable in predicting surges of the virus and identifying dominant strains. The University of Minnesota offers data from more than 40 wastewater treatment plants across the state.

In addition to changing the reporting schedule, MDH is also rolling out a new website design that features more interactive graphs and charts. The new website will focus on death and hospitalization rates and other trends rather than counts, the agency said, though downloadable data will be available for each graphic.

MORE FROM ALEX DEROSIER:
Earlier this month, Traverse County Attorney Matthew Franzese filed a petition with District Court Judge Thomas Gilligan Jr. asking to intervene in the case. Gilligan in July handed a victory to abortion providers who had filed a lawsuit in 2019 challenging state regulations, including a 24-hour wait period for the procedure.
New job numbers from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development show seasonally-adjusted unemployment held at 1.8% in July, holding at an all-time low reached in June.
The University of Minnesota is working on testing techniques as monkeypox continues to spread and polio appears in New York City wastewater.
Workers had until July 22 to apply for the bonus pay, and the state ended up receiving 1,199,416 applications — almost double the 667,000 applications lawmakers expected to receive. Now about 18% face rejection and have until the end of August to appeal.

Related Topics: CORONAVIRUSMINNESOTANEWSMD
Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
What to read next
Like many rural agricultural communities, Winnebago's population has been shrinking. There are less than 1,300 people living here now — down about 16% in the last decade.
National Agricultural Genotyping Center in Fargo has been running DNA tests on dead honeybees from across the country since 2016. They started by testing for nine viruses and two bacteria in adult bees. Now they can test for 18 different pathogens.
Phoua Hang’s husband was driving and she was a passenger when their vehicle was struck July 17 by someone driving a stolen Kia in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood. The driver and passengers ran away.
The union has also threatened to take legal action against the Becker school district over another policy under consideration.