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11 times as many COVID-19 cases than confirmed? MN health official say that's a 'conservative' estimate

Eleven times as many cases could be quite conservative, in fact.

Experts with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) feel that a report from Columbia University that says there are 11 times more undiagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. than confirmed ones is conservative. 

There are 137 confirmed cases in Minnesota, so 11 times that would mean there are another 1,400 or so undetected cases of the virus statewide. But Kris Ehresmann of the MDH says there's possibly 100 times more than what have been confirmed.  

"That's probably a conservative estimate," said Ehresmann. "It could be as high as a hundredfold. Bottom line is that there is a lot of COVID-19 circulating in Minnesota. Take the community mitigation seriously. The 137 cases are just the tip of the iceberg."

One indicator that the novel coronavirus is widespread throughout Minnesota is a recent increase of influenza-like illness. The flu season began with a rise and fall of Influenza B, then followed with a rise and fall of Influenza A. Of late, flu-like illness, featuring fever and respiratory symptoms, is rising again.  

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"It was coming down and now we're starting to see that go up again, which we believe is COVID-19," Ehresmann said. 

Bottom line: Minnesotans should expect to see more and more cases of the novel coronavirus in the days ahead. 

"We don't anticipate the number of cases slowing down at all. We expect that we'll continue to see cases so we'll see the number of cases increase," Ehresmann added. 

"Our increase, because of all the mitigation efforts, should be slower than what would've happened without it, but we expect to continue seeing increase.

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