Minnesota’s Border Battles: COVID-19 edition
Last year, we released a report titled ‘Minnesota’s Border Battles‘ in which we compared the economic outcomes in Minnesota counties bordering other states with the outcomes in the border counties…
Last week, I wrote on whether Covid-19 mortality data justified extending the lockdown, as to which I said:
Given the fact that most of the Covid-19 deaths are among a specific demographic, it makes sense to focus isolation efforts on the more vulnerable groups while allowing businesses to open. Continuing with the current system in place does not provide extra protection to the most vulnerable groups. What we will end up having therefore is more permanent economic damage and increasing COVID-19 deaths. Both of which could be prevented with more targeted efforts and expanded testing.
Up until recently the state had taken no effort to focus testing and isolation efforts in long term facilities. This despite the fact that Minnesota has had the highest percentage of deaths among people living in Long Term Care facilities in the nation. As reported by the Star Tribune today, the trend has continued to be the same.
Deaths from COVID-19 continue to be concentrated among the elderly and residents of long-term care facilities, with 13 of 17 newly reported fatalities on Tuesday involving residents of these facilities.
The pandemic has now been associated with 748 deaths in Minnesota, including 608 long-term care residents, according to the latest COVID-19 figures provided Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health.
This is especially concerning given the fact that long term care residents make a small percentage of the total number of cases, and an even smaller percentage of the Minnesota population.
Minnesota long term care residents represent only about 1% of the state population, and have made up 13% of total COVID-19 cases in the state, but have made up about 81% of total deaths. This in contrast to the rest of Minnesota which makes up 99% of the population, 87% of cases but only 1% of total deaths.
State health officials have reportedly started taking efforts into improving testing in long term care facilities, which is a good thing. As of Monday the state has performed testing in 21 facilities and has scheduled testing at other 54 facilities. But this should have been the course of action when this trend started. Instead, focus was put on locking down the entire economy, neglecting these vulnerable groups.