Well, just after I thought DOH was maybe done with weird data processing, today they give us a special little chart showing all the presumptive positives that have been sent to them since the end of December but that they haven’t processed. The table indicates what the total cases for a day will be if all the presumptive positives are confirmed after processing. When you look at the table now, assuming this is the end of the backlog, you see a fairly high plateau for the first couple of weeks in January, and that is probably declining at this point. As usual the virus knows when it is a weekend or holiday so doesn’t infect people no matter how much they get together. What doesn’t happen on those occasions is rampant school, work and health care testing. I think the weekends actually give us a better picture of what the real number of clinical infections is–those in which people have any symptoms which actually require treatment.
So now when you look at Dave Dixon’s week-over-week charts, keep in mind first that beginning January 4, testing soared in school and college age groups with return to school and so did case numbers, as you can see in the recently version of the age-structure charts. So as usual the case “surge” is about testing more than anything else. And the other thing to note is that hospital admissions are ticking up, but not significantly, and would be ticking up even less if Minnesota followed the lead of most states and started confessing how many hospitalizations are just incidental.