MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that Minnesota has hit its “moonshot” testing goal of having the capacity for 20,000 COVID-19 tests per day.
The governor announced that testing goal more than two months ago. State health officials say having the capacity to test 20,000 Minnesotans a day for COVID-19 will give a more accurate picture of how much of the population may be infected.
To date, the state has also completed more than half a million COVID-19 tests — approximately 592,955.
“The seven-day positivity rate is 4.4% so we’re watching week over week,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.
In Florida, the number was three times that Monday — above 13%. Gov. Walz says he feels part of the reason Minnesota is seeing a lower infection rate is partly due to adequate testing, tracking and isolation.
“If you go and look at states that are having problems right now the percentages of the population that they tested is about five or six percent instead of the ten percent they need that starts to bend that curve,” Gov. Walz said.
Still the leaders acknowledged some Minnesotans who want to get a COVID-19 test haven’t been able to get one. MDH officials say they advise health care providers to test asymptomatic patients who may have been exposed.
“Each individual private entity makes its own decisions about their capacity and what their priorities are,” Commissioner Malcolm said.
On Monday, the number of patients in ICU in Minnesota was 140, the lowest in almost two months.
Still, state health officials said they would not be surprised if cases start going up due to more people going out. Gov. Walz said a statewide mandatory mask policy is not out of the question.
“If you are for the economy opening up and for the state to take away some of the limitations on your businesses the surest way to move us in the economy is to do the mask,” Gov. Walz said.
The president of Mayo Clinic Laboratories also said he believes serology tests are now more accurate than when they first rolled out a few months ago. He said determining how to use those types of tests to determine if someone has made antibodies against the virus is another goal.