Ask the Chief
Every day I receive a report from the Department of Public Safety detailing the data gathered for COVID-19 in Minnesota. For the last few weeks, I have seen the numbers falling.
As of Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020 fatalities are down, positive tests are down and hospitalizations are down. The majority of all deaths are those who are elderly and in long-term care facilities and those who have serious underlying health issues.
Currently, the largest group testing positive are those in the 20-29-year-old age range. Men and women are almost equal in the positive test results and the races with the most positive test are Caucasian, followed by African American and then Hispanic
As for “Likely Exposure”, the top three being reported are “Community No Known, Community Known, and Unknown”. This is what I want to focus this column on.
It is extremely difficult to know with any certainty where someone contracted COVID-19 and who they contracted it from. It is easy to point fingers at this person or a specific event. It is also easy to focus on those not wearing a mask or who are not social distancing. But the truth is, it is impossible to know where someone contracted COVID-19 given the amount of traveling we are doing and the number of people we come into contact with daily.
It is also important to remember what we have been told by the CDC and health officials that COVID-19 cannot be stopped, it can only be slowed down … and that is what our state and federal goals were from the very beginning. We slowed the spread by staying at home, then by social distancing, and finally by wearing masks. However, this has not and will not stop COVID-19.
What I am being told is the only way to stop COVID-19 is with herd immunity or a vaccine. For herd immunity to occur, 60 percent or more of the population will need to contract COVID-19. For a vaccine to work it needs to be manufactured, tested, and administered on a wide scale.
Why am I sharing this with you? I am trying to stop the fear and the speculation and the shaming of others. Yes, COVID-19 is real, and yes we need to take it seriously but we need to do this with reasoning and logic.
As of Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020, the Department of Public Safety reported that there were 67,308 confirmed cases (it is impossible to know how many cases exist that have not been confirmed) and 1,745 deaths. This means that the percentage of deaths concerning known positive cases is 2.59.
There have been a total of 1,734 ICU hospitalizations which gives a percentage of 2.57 and a total of 6,019 who have been hospitalized (including ICU) which gives a percentage of 8.94.
I encourage all of you to take a moment and look at the numbers and to think for yourself. Personally, I have accepted the fact that I will most likely contract COVID-19 because of the nature of my job. However, I have chosen not to let COVID-19 stop me from serving my community with the same level of personal and compassionate care that I have always provided, while trying very hard to social distance, wear my mask and wash my hands often.