MN health commissioner: COVID-19 hospitalizations could double, triple soon

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota.
Author:
Publish date:

Tighter restrictions being placed on Minnesotans is a looming possibility as COVID-19 has exploded in the past few weeks, and the top leaders at the state health department say ratcheting up the restrictions would be a good idea sooner than later. 

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director with the Minnesota Department of Health, joined MPR Radio's Kerri MIller for a full hour Monday morning. 

During the show, a caller suggested that the state completely shut down for two weeks in mid-December, asking if that would curb the outbreak. Ehresmann said it's a good idea. 

"I do think that the idea of closing down more activities is a good one because of the high level of spread that we're seeing," said Ehresmann. "It's a situation in which it's a great idea." 

"I know that we've got to do something to change the trajectory of where we're at," she added. "Our healthcare systems are at the breaking point so we're going to have to think carefully about next steps and what we need to do. His idea is a good one, I'm just not sure if December 15th is soon enough." 

Malcolm agreed, saying further restrictions are "very possible." 

"Given the incredible acceleration in the trends that we've seen even since the governor's announcement last week, the numbers have just skyrocketed. We added 26,000 new cases just over the last three days," Malcolm said. 

"The hospitalizations is a critical consideration in all of this. We know that hospitalizations lag by about two weeks, or possibly a little bit more than two weeks, behind the cases so the hospitalizations we're seeing today are based on cases that were one-third of what we're seeing today."

Minnesota was reporting an average of just over 2,500 cases per day in the final two weeks of October. Now the state has reported at least 7,000 new cases in four of the past five days. The results of 2,500 cases per day in late October has been an increase from 580 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide on Oct. 24 to a record 1,558 through Nov. 15, including 324 in intensive care. 

"If that means that hospitalizations could increase by a factor of 2 or 3 in the next couple of weeks and we're already hearing from hospitals that because their staff are also getting sick...or out because they're on quarantine," Malcolm continued, "this is just snowballing on itself to such a degree that...it does lead us all to be concerned about how quickly all this is moving." 

If the approximately 1,500 hospitalized doubles or triples within the next few weeks, it would mean anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 COVID-19 patients swamping the state's hospital system. 

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

For the time being, Malcolm says Minnesotans would be wise to avoid gatherings of any kind. 

"Gathering outside your immediate household is dangerous right now," said Malcolm. "We really encourage people not be be gathering in large numbers, or really even in small numbers, outside your immediate household in this next period of time."

Gov. Walz will address Minnesotans alongside frontline healthcare workers at 2 p.m. Monday. The governor hinted last week that further restrictions are likely, though a specific timeline for when he could announce them is unclear. 

"We certainly have provided him with our concerns and the data that we are seeing," said Ehresmann.  

Nov. 16 Weather with Sven

Next Up

Minneapolis police

3 Mpls officers injured on night of shootings, stabbings and fights

It was a tense weekend for the city of Minneapolis.

Fruen Mill in Minneapolis.

Teen in serious condition after fall at abandoned Minneapolis mill

Multiple urban explorers have been hurt at the Fruen Mill.

Screen Shot 2021-04-12 at 5.44.29 PM

Brooklyn Center City Council votes to create department for noncriminal calls

The resolution is named after Daunte Wright and Kobe Dimock-Heisler, who were both killed by police in Brooklyn Center.

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 7.54.26 AM

Train derails while passing by lake in Albert Lea

The Union Pacific train derailed Saturday afternoon.

Kaprizov, Wild

5 questions for the Wild's playoff series against Vegas

The Wild seem to have the advantage, but can they win their first playoff series since 2015?

police tape, crime scene

Young girl shot in the head in north Minneapolis

The girl was outside when she was struck by the bullet, police said.

prison, Rush City cell block

Former Army Green Beret and U of M student sentenced for Russian espionage

Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 46, was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Miguel Sano

Miguel SanĂ³'s 8th inning blast ends Twins losing streak

The 5-4 victory over the A's snapped a five-game losing streak.

Thomas Humphrey, charged in vaccine thefts.

Viral videos of vaccine thefts lead to charges for MN anti-vaxxer

Thomas Edward Humphrey is a 32-year-old St. Paul resident.

Kyle Imdieke of Osakis, Minnesota.

Community rallies around family of MN coach who died suddenly

Kyle Imdieke was a beloved educator at Osakis High School.

Related

Bar beer

Ex-Obama health official claims MN should shut down bars again

The call for action comes as Minnesota is seeing more cases of COVID-19.

coronavirus, covid-19

MN health leaders: Shutdown 'clearly helped change pandemic's trajectory'

Minnesota health leaders believe the partial shutdown played a key role in slowing the spread.

coronavirus, ICU, COVID-19

MN health officials say increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations 'likely'

Younger people have been getting infected, meaning they could transmit it to older, more vulnerable people.

social distancing, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz readying 'more surgical' mitigation strategies as COVID-19 surges

It's unclear if bars and restaurants will face further restrictions.

Life Time

Life Time encourages members to lobby Walz over COVID-19 measures

The CEO says it could end up temporarily laying off 4,000 workers.

covid-19, coronavirus

Walz indicates more COVID-19 restrictions could be on the way

More targeted mandates are likely on the way, according to Walz.

heart monitor, hospital

What Minnesota leaders will be looking for in order to lift shutdown

State leaders don't expect to see results from the orders until the third or final week of the shutdown.