Upward COVID-19 case trend in Minnesota worries experts

FILE - Illustration picture shows nursing staff handling corona test tube for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) pathogens. (Photo by Vincent Kalut / Photonews via Getty Images)

Health officials say Saturday’s record high for newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day in Minnesota is a trend in the wrong direction.

More than 1,500 new infections were reported Saturday and 1,400 infections were reported Sunday.

“We will likely see the rates climbing up in the coming weeks,” said Pinar Karaca-Mandic, a professor at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School.

The professor is with a team at Carlson that’s been crunching the numbers on COVID-19 hospitalizations. She says the spike in positive tests wouldn’t be as concerning if it weren’t for state data showing hospitalizations also on the rise.

“We get very happy when we see the down trends but we get very nervous and cautious when we start seeing the upward trends, especially if these trends sustain for a couple weeks like we see now,” said Karaca-Mandic.

Dr. Frank Rhame, with Allina Health, has been on the frontlines of the pandemic since the start. He says the return to normal activities is largely to blame.

“You get a lot of transmission in young people and it doesn’t stay confined to that age group,” said Rhame. “It gradually drifts to older people. A week or two later you see a larger number of older people infected, you see more deaths. It’s utterly clock work.”

“It’s the people who are totally undisciplined who account for this and it’s a shame because we could do a lot of that stuff if we were just more disciplined,” he added.