Statewide Conversation on COVID19 - Dan Huff, Minnesota Department of Health

Oct 2, 2020

In this week's statewide conversation with MN state officials and elected officers  Heidi Holtan spoke with  Dan Huff – Assistant Commissioner of the MN Dept of Health. Each week you have the opportunity to ask questions about Minnesota’s response and plans during this COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re teaming up with community radio stations throughout the state, in partnership with Ampers, Diverse Radio for Minnesota’s Communities, and the Minnesota Broadcasters Association, to bring you COVID-19 information for the state of MN.

If you didn’t get a chance to send or call in your question this week email covid@ampers.org or call 612-562-9895.

One of our listeners had this question:

Why is the daily data on MHD website no longer providing the total number of patients currently hospitalized in ICU as well as in non ICU beds?  I find that information helpful in terms of personally tracking hospital capacity. Is that information available somewhere else?  Thank you.

Listen to our conversation with Dan Huff above for the answer, and the MDH also followed up with an email answer: 

We’ve changed how we report the data related to hospitalizations and ICU patients, shifting to the number of hospital admissions and ICU admissions per day. Just as our understanding of the virus has changed over time, our understanding of what factors we need to measure and report in order to improve our public health response must change. We know this change means some adjustments and apologize for any disruptions, but we think this will be helpful to Minnesotans. With the change to hospitalization and ICU data, our intent is to help reduce redundancy and convey a clearer picture of what impact COVID-19 is having in Minnesota by focusing on more specific measures.

If you think about current hospitalizations, that's really more of an indicator of hospital capacity, and the State Emergency Operations Center already tracks information on that, and there's information shared on the Governor's dashboard around that. The keepers of that dashboard are working to get revised hospitalization data up there that should provide data similar to what reporters were used to getting on the MDH Situation Update page.

For telling us more about COVID-19 severity, which is what we want to portray on our Situation Updatepage, this information on hospitalizations by admission date actually gives a better sense of severity of disease and is very useful when making decisions in the response—it is already something looked at for the dial-back measures.

We will be adding some additional hospitalization data to our weekly report next week on things like length of stay to fill in more of the picture around hospitalizations.​

We also just put out a statement about the President testing positive for COVID-19 which you can see here:

https://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/2020/statement100220.html