Like most of you, I’ve been reading in the paper about the explosion of cases across the country that is causing some states to dial back their “re-opening” timelines. So I spent some time on the MDH website looking at stats/trends for Minnesota.
In Minnesota, we have completed over 592,955 tests. With 35,861 positives, that’s about a 6% positive rate and, of that, 11% hospitalization rate.
From today’s 2pm Press Briefing, the Governor put this into context: though the # of positives increases, so is the amount of testing. The relevant data is the “% positives within the last 7 days,” which is steady at 4.18%.
So far we have lost 1,425 people, or just over 2% (lower if you assume we have many untested “positives” out there).
How are we trending?
Downward, but we still have peaks and valleys. Our highest day of positive tests was May 21, with 981 positive cases. Compare that with this past weekend’s news of over 9,500 positives in one day in Florida. Can we say “compliance,” people?
Also downward but jiggy, despite increasingly more tests/day, we’re now regularly testing between 12-14K people/day. The % positives, across a rolling 7-day period, is down to – and steady at – about 4.18%.
Of note is the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,before Congress last week. He said that increasingly younger adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s are getting infected because they have a "pent-up urge" to go out after weeks of quarantine. No surprise there. Worth reading: despite this recent surge, an interesting article this past weekend caught my eye. UofM’s infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm doesn't expect a massive COVID-19 outbreak in the fall. COVID-19 cases essentially disappearing over the summer followed by an even bigger wave of infection in the fall and winter is what University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm has long considered the "worst-case scenario," but Osterholm is gaining confidence that such a scenario won't unfold over the course of the pandemic. Listen to his latest podcast to learn more.Listen to last week’s Osterholm Update. And through this, my eyes mostly are focused on the pandemic’s impact on business. This unprecedented blow has been swift and vast. Restaurants, breweries, wineries, retail, delayed development projects, decline in construction starts. It cuts across most sectors, and owners already have burned through CARES Act funds. At the beginning of the year, the country’s unemployment rate was at about a 50-year low. Today, we are at levels not seen since the Great Depression. The unemployment rate is approaching 15%. CNBC talks about an “economic hangover” that could last for years. The challenge for us? Figure out how to pivot, survive in new ways. Because what choice do we have? Now, more than ever, we need to support one another, buy local where possible, and support policy work intended to advance investments in infrastructure. Most important, of course, is the consumer’s experience of hopefulness – because it is that optimism that will encourage us to continue engaging in the economy. And that optimism – coupled with good policy – will carry us out of this as quickly as possible. We ❤ St. Paul/Midway: $122K received, another $400K committed so far.
Shout out: 3M Offering Free Signage 3M and HP Inc. announced a new collaboration to share free-of-charge large-format graphics for commercial signage applications to communicate social distancing and health and safety messages as public spaces, workplaces and businesses reopen amid the continued COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3M Graphics COVID-19 Related Signage library for HP is a free, online resource providing templates, design elements and poster artwork for floor and carpet graphics for social distancing, signs and decals for storefront windows, mirrors, and other types of glasses, and posters for general awareness in public settings.
With 3M providing free access to their exclusive collection of COVID-19 related designs, HP Applications Center users can configure a customized space in only three steps. For more information about suggested uses as well as recommended 3M print materials, go to the HP Applications Center. Updates: Monday Press Briefing: Governor Walz
We have reached an important goal, originally set for 1st week of June: have tested over 10% of the population and have the capacity to test 20K people/day.
Our plan is to test, trace, and isolate until we have therapeutics and a vaccine. Still anticipating this will take 18 months.
% of cases has plateaued, though testing more. The % of positives is stable, 7-day average of 4.18%. Significantly better than seen in other states like AZ, where they are seeing 14% positive rate.
Still need social distancing, wearing of masks, and smart reintegration of the economy.
Cautioned us from comparing directly between states, because each is different in terms of demographics, density, etc.
MDH Commissioner Malcolm
Over the weekend, we reached another goal, sadly: worldwide, over 10M positives, and over 500K deaths.
MN hospitalization picture remains stable. 10 fewer hospitalized than yesterday, at 278. And 140 in the ICU, lowest level since 5/1.
We also heard from the U of M and Mayo, about the “Moonshot” public/private partnership for testing.
Urgent reminder! The deadline for SBA to approve Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications is Tuesday, June 30. This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program. Find a lender and apply today!
DEED has announced that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program– which was approved by the Minnesota Legislature last weekend and signed by Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday – began accepting applications on Tuesday, June 24.This program will use a lottery system to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees (and Minnesota-based majority owner), impacted by COVID-19, are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law. Additional requirements include:
$18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees
$10 million for minority business enterprises
$2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses
$2.5 million for women-owned businesses
$2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis
Details of the Moving Forward Act: We first mentioned this last week. The Moving Forward Act is a federal proposal of more than $1.5 trillion for infrastructure projects. Supporters believe it will create millions of jobs throughout the United States. See details here.
Saint Paul businesses can access free technical and financial assistance through Pay It Forward, a collaboration between the City of Saint Paul and our economic development partners. Business mentors speak English, Hmong, Karen, Oromo, Somali and Spanish. To connect with a Pay It Forward business mentor, go to saintpaulchamber.com/payitforward.
Walz $853M in CARES Act funding to be distributed to Minnesota communitiesFrom KSTP, June 25: Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan on Thursday announced a plan to distribute $853 million in federal funding to Minnesota communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic… $841 million will go to counties, cities and towns while the remaining $12 million will be allocated toward food shelves and food banks… The local governments can use the funding to support services and grants to businesses, hospitals and individuals impacted by the pandemic. The funding will be based on a per capita formula developed by lawmakers during the special session last week. Counties with a population of less than 500,000 will receive $121.28 per person; cities larger than 200 people will get $75.34 per person, as will towns with a population over 5,000 and cities with a population under 200; towns with a population less than 4,999 will receive $25 per person. Cities and towns with a population under 200 will have their distribution sent to their county.”
Here’s how COVID-19 affected Minnesota and Wisconsin differently. The reasons why are still unclear. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 28: Their coronavirus outbreaks began at about the same time, but COVID-19 has now killed almost twice as many Minnesotans than our neighbors to the east; and Wisconsin has 25 percent fewer infections. It’s unclear why the pandemic has affected the two Upper Midwestern states so differently or if those variances will hold up long term. But it has driven criticism of Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and his decision to keep restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus in place longer than many other states.
Young bar-goers are driving up coronavirus infection rates in Minnesota and nationwideFrom the St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 27: Twenty-somethings frequenting bars since pandemic restrictions were lifted are helping to drive up Minnesota’s coronavirus infections. At 6,854 cases, residents in their twenties are now the age group in Minnesota with the most coronavirus cases. Health officials say the average age of Minnesota’s cases continues to drop as more young people contract COVID-19.
Despite aid, Minnesota small businesses brace for bleak times From the Star Tribune, June 27:These are desperate times for small-business owners. Most have already run through the money they received from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which forced many owners to rehire workers they didn’t need when their businesses were either shuttered or operating at a fraction of capacity. Now, with a slow summer looming, some entrepreneurs say their businesses may not survive until 2021 if they don’t get more help soon. “If the federal government doesn’t act, the current wave of closures is sadly going to be the tip of the iceberg,” said Deepak Nath, co-owner of two Pourhouse nightclubs in Minneapolis.
COVID-19 update as of 6/29/2020 Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 35,861 % Positives, last 7 days (as of 6/29): 4.18% Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 6/29): over 2.5M Confirmed cases globally (as of 6/29): almost 10.2M Cases requiring hospitalization: 4,031 (representing 11.2% of total) #s currently hospitalized: 278 (down from 340 on 6/25) #s no longer needing to be isolated: 31,225 #s tested: 592,955 Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,435 (1,129/78.7% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities) Total deaths in U.S. (updated 6/29): almost 126K Total deaths globally (updated 6/29): almost 503K Cases in Counties represented: Hennepin County: 11,656 (773 deaths) Ramsey County: 4,629 (217 deaths) Dakota County: 2,157 (87 deaths) Washington County: 995 (40 deaths) Resources
Visit our events page for webinars and events and the Ramsey County Means Business page for information to help businesses navigate resources during this pandemic. If you need more personalized assistance, contact our Rapid Response Team to assist you in finding an answer. Be safe and be well,
B Kyle President/CEO Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce