The outbreak data powering decisions for Minnesota's 4-week pause

A chart detailing the percent of COVID-19 outbreaks by setting in Minnesota. (Minnesota Dept. of Health)

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said his restrictions for the four-week pause were powered by data and science amid a surge in COVID-19 cases statewide.

Minnesota Department of Health data as of Nov. 16 shows the latest counts for outbreaks statewide. Below are the top five social settings in regards to outbreaks and cases:

  • Restaurants and bars: 190 outbreaks and 3,201 cases, 45.8% of statewide social outbreaks
  • Weddings: 107 outbreaks and 950 cases, 13.6% of all statewide social outbreaks
  • Sports: 192 outbreaks and 780 cases, 11.1% of all statewide social outbreaks
  • Gyms: 48 outbreaks and 747 cases, 10.68% of all statewide social outbreaks
  • Social gatherings: 72 outbreaks and 609 cases, 8.7% of all statewide social outbreaks

The new order that goes into effect Saturday impacts each of those settings. Restaurants and bars will be restricted to takeout only, youth sports will be put on hold, wedding receptions will be prohibited, gyms will need to close and social gatherings will be restricted to a single household.

MDH Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says those numbers don't tell the whole story. She says it's a "significant undercount" in regards to the spread because the data only lists primary cases.

"It’s not only the primary case, it’s who the primary case spread to and they spread and then they spread," said Malcolm.

Using the 780 known cases linked to sports as an example, Walz explained how the spread extends far beyond just those cases.

"For every one of those 780, the second and third infections that will happen equal about 70," said Walz. "So you can take the 780 times 70 to get where those are coming from."

The new order is set to run from November 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. until December 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Health officials say they hope the order will help stabilize case rates and test positivity rates. Also, Walz says he is hopeful in four weeks there will be vaccine protocol in place.