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Dr. Deborah Birx paid a visit to Rochester to meet with state and local health officials

Dr. Deborah Birx met with health officials to discuss Olmsted County's response to the pandemic.

Posted: Oct 25, 2020 7:27 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House, met with state and local health officials at Rochester Community and Technical College to better understand Olmsted County's response to the pandemic.

During Dr. Deborah Brix's visit to Rochester, she explained the rate COVID-19 cases are rising in Minnesota. According to Dr. Birx, cases are rising at a rate higher than they were in the spring and summer. While Minnesota is currently the 19th state in the country for rising cases, the outbreak is intensifying in the cold states, daily hospital rates are increasing and soon, wearing a mask might be helpful even when people aren't in public. "We all have to play that part and that part includes us wearing masks. Masks with each other, masks when were in public, and potentially masks in our household if were choosing to visit with vulnerable individuals," explained Dr. Birx. She said that the outbreak is driven by our behaviors and that even when were in public places like restaurants. It's not just doing the basics of wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and sanitizing our hands, but also being vigilant of how far apart tables are and if servers are wearing masks as well.

Testing has also been an issue as not everyone is offered it. "It's not the number of tests performed," said Dr. Birx. "But who they are offered to." In Olmsted County, cases do continue to rise, but according to Public Health, it's nothing out of control. Across the state, there have been mobile testing units that offer free testing where outbreaks are occurring. In Rochester, health officials haven't felt the need to bring one here. Olmsted County Public Health Director, Graham Briggs said the county is staying fairly steady for the time being. "That's not to say that wouldn't happen here, but it is kind of a positive thing I think almost that we're not on that list for a reason," explained Briggs. "Because we've got testing ran and we don't have some big community wide or college based outbreak or something like that that's out of control.

Community spread continues to increase and a big part of that is due to people who are asymptomatic. In fact, in Olmsted County, about 20% of the tests that come back positive are from people who are showing no symptoms at all. "We have power, we can change our future, but it does take all of us," said Dr. Birx. "Even those of us who feel fine, even those of us who don't believe that the illness would be significant to us. We all have to play that part and that part really includes us wearing masks." It also includes routine testing. Dr. Birx stressed that early testing and testing everyone plays a major role in slowing community spread, even people not showing symptoms. She said setting up sentinel surveillance systems can be a solution to making sure everyone gets tested. What that means is monitoring the change in health levels among a certain population.

Briggs said setting up routine testing in areas with teachers and those working in long term care facilities is the next step. "If people start shedding the virus, whether they've got symptoms or not, if we're offering testing once a week and people take us up on that offer, then we detect those cases quickly, a little bit sooner and we've got a little bit better handle as to whatever that at risk population is," explained Briggs. "We can show that we're catching cases and making sure that we're not seeing transmission move on from those cases that we might otherwise miss."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295001

Reported Deaths: 3535
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin624331107
Ramsey26238493
Anoka20851224
Dakota20527189
Stearns13245106
Washington13220111
St. Louis8141108
Scott798154
Wright720338
Olmsted639934
Sherburne552241
Clay473356
Carver443213
Blue Earth395813
Rice393335
Kandiyohi378719
Crow Wing344731
Nobles301429
Chisago29799
Otter Tail288820
Benton285847
Winona266629
Mower248523
Douglas242235
Polk238223
Morrison224027
Lyon206711
Beltrami202517
McLeod198511
Becker194015
Goodhue190628
Steele18336
Itasca179123
Isanti179016
Todd173912
Carlton170414
Nicollet154925
Freeborn14795
Mille Lacs145131
Le Sueur141111
Waseca135911
Cass133310
Brown131215
Pine12788
Meeker11638
Roseau11074
Hubbard107523
Martin105520
Wabasha9941
Redwood87518
Dodge8230
Chippewa8157
Watonwan8104
Cottonwood7942
Renville77322
Sibley7564
Wadena7476
Aitkin71729
Rock7149
Pipestone69618
Houston6534
Fillmore6510
Yellow Medicine61511
Pennington6137
Murray5623
Kanabec55713
Swift5448
Faribault5251
Pope5071
Clearwater4817
Stevens4813
Jackson4581
Marshall4508
Lake3916
Unassigned38659
Koochiching3675
Wilkin3605
Lac qui Parle3513
Lincoln3331
Norman3307
Big Stone2962
Mahnomen2834
Grant2566
Red Lake2033
Kittson2027
Traverse1391
Lake of the Woods941
Cook630

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 223783

Reported Deaths: 2330
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33166333
Linn13991164
Scott1100384
Black Hawk10795134
Woodbury10255124
Johnson940036
Dubuque913491
Story674921
Dallas629057
Pottawattamie617069
Sioux366725
Webster357033
Cerro Gordo349644
Marshall346345
Clinton322840
Buena Vista302214
Muscatine282668
Des Moines282419
Warren276411
Plymouth270641
Wapello251571
Jones228413
Jasper214643
Marion202919
Lee199416
Carroll196422
Bremer192612
Henry18107
Crawford174115
Benton167418
Tama153340
Jackson143013
Delaware141021
Washington138214
Dickinson135810
Boone134811
Mahaska126127
Wright12226
Buchanan115410
Clay11504
Hardin114010
Page11144
Hamilton11009
Clayton10875
Harrison106629
Cedar106213
Calhoun10607
Kossuth10426
Floyd103916
Mills10297
Fayette102210
Lyon10188
Butler9916
Poweshiek98213
Winneshiek95812
Iowa93012
Winnebago91323
Hancock8547
Louisa84916
Grundy84611
Chickasaw8424
Sac8407
Cherokee8214
Cass80222
Allamakee79011
Appanoose77910
Mitchell7794
Humboldt7635
Shelby76111
Union7576
Emmet74924
Guthrie74115
Franklin73421
Jefferson7062
Madison6764
Palo Alto6474
Unassigned6470
Keokuk5777
Pocahontas5572
Howard5489
Greene5170
Osceola5171
Ida48113
Clarke4774
Taylor4603
Davis4548
Montgomery45011
Monroe43912
Adair4298
Monona4272
Fremont3553
Van Buren3545
Worth3540
Lucas3226
Decatur3160
Audubon2952
Wayne2957
Ringgold2082
Adams1652
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