ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The youngest COVID-19 patient in Minnesota is a four-week-old infant who is among the 177 people hospitalized with coronavirus as of Tuesday, April 14, according to the latest statewide update from the Minnesota Department of Health. Minnesota's COVID-19 patients range in age from four weeks to 104 years.
Fewer than one percent of the 1,695 positive tests in the state are children under the age of five. According to the CDC, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.
"The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms," the CDC says. "Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs."
Minnesota reported 45 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths from the virus Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 1,695 and deaths to 79. However, health officials the number of confirmed cases is still considered to be an undercount due to a lack of widespread testing. A total of 909 of the patients confirmed to have the coronavirus have recovered and no longer need to be isolated.
Fewer than 24 percent of Minnesota’s cases have required hospitalization.
The median age of the Minnesotans who have died from COVID-19 is 87. The age range for the state's deaths is 56-100 years old.
Approximately 22 percent of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases are in congregate care facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilites and group homes. Officials have now begun identifying congregate living facilities that have seen COVID-19 cases.
MDH data shows a significant portion the cases are the result of community transmission. Community transmission cases occur when the individual who tested positive did not travel or have any known contact with someone with COVID-19.
There are now confirmed COVID-19 cases in 70 of Minnesota's 87 counties, although health officials say the virus is likely circulating in every Minnesota community, whether a county has a confirmed case or not.
MDH confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Minnesota on March 6. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.
MDH has three hotlines for questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotline for health questions is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.
The hotline for community mitigation (schools, childcare, business) questions is also open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.
The hotline for housing questions is 651-296-8215 for single-family residences and 651-297-4455 for multi-family residences. The hotline is staff Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The state has also launched a helpline for people to report incidents of bias or discrimination resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The number to call is 1-833-454-0148. Translation and interpretation services are available.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
Some recent studies have also suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscles aches, headache, sore throat or diarrhea. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you can manage them at home, MDH says you do not need to go to the doctor or get tested. Instead, you should do the following:
Wash your hands often
Cough your coughs and sneezes
Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, towels, bedding, etc.
Clean surfaces you touch often
If your symptoms worsen or you notice any of the emergency warning signs (trouble breathing, ongoing pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or not being able to wake up, bluish lips or face), call your health can provider right away.
People are advised to call their doctor or clinic before going in, if possible. They will give you instructions to help protect you and other patients.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19
The CDC and MDH recommend Minnesotans do the following to protect themselves and their loved ones and limit the spread of COVID-19:
Stay home and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household
Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other people when you do go out
Wash your hands often
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Clean surfaces that you touch often
The CDC is now recommending people wear face masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain such as grocery stores and pharmacies as well as in areas that are seeing significant community transmission of the virus.
Wearing a mask can not only prevent you from getting sick, but also helps people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.