ST. CLOUD – St. Cloud dominated the charts in a New York Times report on where in the United States a coronavirus outbreak could occur.
The New York Times article reported on Friday that St. Cloud has the highest average daily growth rate in the country, with a daily growth rate of 42% and cases doubling every other day. He cites growth rates as a measure that can tell whether things are getting better or worse.
Minnesota Department of Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann was not available for an interview on Friday, but said in an emailed statement that the data reflected the spread of COVID-19 in processing plants. meat from the region and aggressive screening and testing in these situations.
“This is to be expected when you have facilities in which the transmission of the virus is amplified,” said Ehresmann.
Screening and testing are designed to ensure that sick people do not come to work.
“This type of aggressive screening and testing of a large population will lead to these types of increases,” said Ehresmann.
The growth rates reported in the graph are averaged over the previous week, according to the New York Times article.
Since last week, Minnesota has dramatically increased its testing efforts, announcing on Wednesday a strategy to test all symptomatic Minnesotans. Since then, health officials have attributed the substantial increase in new cases to this increase in testing.
An “instant” approach like this can be misleading, wrote Ehresmann, because it “does not give a true picture of true prevalence in a community.”
“Especially if a community starts with a small number of cases, a sudden wave of tests can swell the rate,” she said in the email. “That said, it is clear that COVID 19 is widely used in the St. Cloud area, as in the entire state. “
Stearns County reported 101 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and another 168 on Friday, according to the Department of Health. As of Friday, the total number of cases in Stearns County was 435. Of the 87 counties in the state, two counties – Hennepin and Nobles – have more confirmed cases than Stearns County.
Stearns County director of public health, Renee Frauendienst, said on Thursday that the dramatic increase in cases in the county is expected.
“As the tests increase, we will see more and more illnesses,” she said in the statement. “We knew it was in our community thanks to the disease surveillance project we are carrying out with CentraCare Health. Tests now confirm it. “
Starting at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Stearns County did not respond to an email request for comment on the Times report.
The New York Times article indicates that other measures would be helpful in understanding the progress of the pandemic, but that confirmed cases and deaths are the most useful daily statistics available locally at the national level.
This is a developing story. Please check for more updates.
Sarah Kocher is the business reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Contact her at 320-255-8799 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SarahAKocher.
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