Vice President Pence in Rochester today to meet with Minnesota's top officials

Vice President Mike Pence is in Rochester today to tour the Mayo Clinic and talk with healthcare leaders in the state.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 7:42 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2020 12:35 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Vice President Mike Pence is in Rochester today to tour the Mayo Clinic and talk with healthcare leaders in the state.

Upon arrival at Rochester International Airport, the Vice President was greeted by Gov. Tim Walz and Congressman Jim Hagedorn.

MnDOT officials said traffic in the city will be impacted. Stay with KIMT throughout the day for the latest. 

See the previous story below:

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence has an appointment Tuesday at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic to learn about a new coronavirus testing “moonshot” that has the famed clinic partnering with the state and its flagship university to quickly boost the state's capacity to 20,000 tests a day.

It’s an approach that leverages a health care infrastructure not all states can match. And it should help Minnesota become one of the most aggressive states at testing on the scale experts say is necessary to safely reopen the economy. Minnesota is one of several states that have quit waiting for the federal government for help.

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Democratic Gov. Tim Walz unveiled the state's partnership with the University of Minnesota and Mayo last Wednesday, promising that every resident with symptoms of the coronavirus can get tested once the plan ramps up in the next few weeks.

“This is not a state that’s just going to get through COVID-19; this is a state that’s going to lead this nation and the world out of this,” Walz vowed of his ”moonshot."

Pence recognized Walz's efforts at a White House briefing Thursday, where he also praised Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for an initiative to boost his state's testing capacity to 22,000 per day through a partnership with reagent manufacturer Thermo Fisher. The vice president also cited Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for a partnership with Utah-based startup Nomi Health aimed at increasing her state's lagging testing capacity by 3,000 per day from its current 1,000-2,000.

“This is the kind of approach and commitment that we need, and I’m glad the vice president is shining a light on promising efforts. We need more,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said of Pence's visit to Mayo. “Kudos to Minnesota for being a part of that.”

Minnesota has one of the lowest confirmed cases per-capita in the country, but its testing has lagged behind what the Walz administration says is needed. An Associated Press analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project shows that Minnesota now ranks among the lowest states in per-capita testing, sixth from the bottom at 10.51 per 100,000 residents, with Kansas last at 9.01. Rhode Island is the highest at 50.51. while New York, the hardest hit state, ranks second at 41.21.

“Minnesota is probably low in terms of tests per thousand compared with other states, but the good news for Minnesota is the testing that it's doing relative to the cases it's finding is relatively high ...,” Nuzzo said. “You don't want the majority of your tests resulting in cases because that suggests there's many cases out there you're not finding.”

Minnesota’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 14 to 286 as of Monday, while 214 new confirmed cases raised the statewide total to 3,816. State and private labs had conducted 61,268 tests as of Monday,

There is huge variation across the country on how aggressive states have been about testing, said Dr. Joel Shalowitz, an adjunct professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. That’s partly because some states that do a lot of testing, such as New York and New Jersey, are among the hardest hit states, while some states that do less testing also have fewer cases. So a lot of testing is driven by the need to test, or the alleged need, he said,

While the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic are “absolutely world-class institutions,” Shalowitz said, much will depend on how accurate their testing proves to be. False positives can force healthy patients into isolation, while false negatives can lead to infected people spreading the virus. Accuracy among other institutions varies widely, he said.

“If Minnesota can increase its capacity to 20,000 tests per day, that would be a very meaningful increase in its testing capacity,” said Dr. Thomas Tsai, a health policy researcher at the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Being home to both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic “does increase the tools in the toolbox for being able to perform tests,” he said. But test numbers aren't the whole answer, he cautioned.

“Testing capacity is one part of the puzzle,” Tsai said “The most important piece is the strategy around testing — not waiting for people to show up. You have to do active contact tracing and active outreach into the community.”

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 562420

Reported Deaths: 7132
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1170781693
Ramsey48500859
Dakota43135425
Anoka39159420
Washington25272274
Stearns21264219
St. Louis16969298
Scott16258118
Wright15030130
Olmsted1284497
Sherburne1079480
Carver996945
Clay790090
Rice7716102
Blue Earth706440
Kandiyohi633681
Crow Wing626586
Chisago557350
Otter Tail549173
Benton539897
Mower453232
Goodhue449972
Douglas446971
Winona440549
Nobles401948
Morrison398359
McLeod398155
Isanti385559
Itasca381553
Beltrami376057
Polk369067
Steele367514
Becker360548
Lyon350048
Carlton332052
Freeborn330329
Pine315121
Nicollet311243
Brown296439
Mille Lacs286850
Le Sueur274922
Todd270930
Cass253826
Meeker240537
Waseca232121
Martin215930
Wabasha20003
Roseau198619
Hubbard175041
Dodge17333
Renville173243
Redwood167035
Houston163015
Cottonwood158721
Fillmore15239
Pennington151919
Chippewa147737
Wadena146321
Faribault145819
Sibley137210
Kanabec135522
Aitkin129536
Watonwan12639
Rock123919
Jackson118910
Yellow Medicine111319
Pipestone110826
Pope10426
Murray10349
Swift100518
Marshall86417
Stevens83810
Lake79219
Clearwater79014
Koochiching78013
Wilkin77712
Lac qui Parle74222
Big Stone5774
Lincoln5613
Grant5558
Norman5239
Mahnomen5178
Unassigned48478
Kittson46822
Red Lake3887
Traverse3625
Lake of the Woods3083
Cook1490

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 359925

Reported Deaths: 5844
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk56360608
Linn20418330
Scott19292236
Black Hawk15620306
Woodbury14975221
Johnson1418681
Dubuque13210204
Dallas1096096
Pottawattamie10836164
Story1036847
Warren561286
Clinton541991
Cerro Gordo525687
Webster508792
Sioux508373
Marshall477675
Muscatine464297
Des Moines444165
Wapello4255121
Buena Vista422640
Jasper408670
Plymouth398979
Lee369555
Marion355975
Jones293955
Henry287437
Carroll280652
Bremer280060
Crawford262940
Boone260033
Benton251555
Washington249650
Dickinson244343
Mahaska226050
Jackson219342
Kossuth213864
Clay212825
Tama207171
Delaware204639
Winneshiek195033
Page190721
Buchanan189131
Cedar185223
Fayette183741
Hardin182142
Wright180735
Hamilton178549
Harrison177273
Clayton167455
Butler162734
Mills159320
Cherokee157638
Floyd156542
Lyon155541
Madison155319
Poweshiek153333
Allamakee149451
Iowa146424
Hancock144234
Winnebago137131
Grundy135532
Cass135454
Calhoun133512
Jefferson131435
Emmet130340
Shelby129437
Sac128619
Louisa127449
Appanoose126647
Mitchell125441
Union123332
Chickasaw122815
Guthrie118629
Humboldt118426
Franklin113421
Palo Alto111523
Howard103022
Montgomery101537
Unassigned9990
Clarke98524
Keokuk95131
Monroe94528
Ida90033
Adair84932
Pocahontas84321
Monona81930
Davis80024
Osceola77316
Greene76910
Lucas75923
Worth7138
Taylor65412
Fremont6169
Decatur5929
Van Buren55618
Ringgold53624
Wayne52123
Audubon4969
Adams3314
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