Editorial Roundup: Good signs on COVID-19 case reporting in Minn.

Published 8:50 pm Friday, July 8, 2022

It wasn’t front page news, but it was good news: The Minnesota Department of Health will report COVID cases on a weekly basis instead of in a daily report.

Case counts are down. That’s the good news. COVID-19 can be reported less frequently like cases of influenza, say health department officials. The 14-day moving average of cases has declined to 1,400 a day in Minnesota in mid-June compared to 2,100 a day in mid-May. Hospitalizations declined to 379 Monday, compared to 482 on May 31.

Tracking COVID cases has become less precise as people with mild symptoms may not report them, and new free home tests people take are also not included in the number. A more accurate measure, viral matter in wastewater treatment samples, will continue to be deployed.

Recent wastewater figures show declines in the metro area and the southeast, but spikes elsewhere in Minnesota.

Health department officials warn correctly that we’re not done with COVID, and that people should still get vaccines, booster shots and take other precautions. We agree. The trend in the deaths has shifted back to older adults with 88% of deaths since May 1. So they should continue to take precautions.

And officials at the University of Minnesota and the Metropolitan Council will continue to track wastewater separately for signs of COVID. That has been a good leading indicator for the trend in actual cases.

Health department officials say they hope people do not take the reduction in daily reporting as a sign they can let down their guard. That’s good advice.

We know COVID can rear its ugly head again and again with new variants that can be more serious or spread more easily.

Experts say COVID cases may be going down not only because we’ve done a good job getting vaccines and taking precautions, but also because more people may be immune from having had the virus. The federal government estimates up to 3.5 million out of 5.5 million Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID.

The good news behind the good news of lower COVID cases and less frequent reporting is that people took it seriously and took steps to combat it.

— Mankato Free Press, July 3

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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