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Latest on COVID-19 in MN: More than 5,700 new cases in past three days

Oct 19, 2020 05:47AM ● By Editor
A contractor working for the Minnesota Department of Health talks to a participant of a COVID-19 drive-thru testing event Sept. 23 at the Itasca County Fairgrounds in Grand Rapids, Minn.
Photo: Derek Montgomery for MPR News file


From Minnesota Public Radio News - October 19, 2020

Minnesota’s COVID-19 case count has increased by more than 5,700 over the past three days, as the state recorded its three largest single-day case increases of the pandemic.

Friday’s record of 2,297 new cases was followed by increases of more than 1,700 cases on both Saturday and Sunday. State health officials reported 17 more COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, the fourth time in five days that the daily death toll has been in the double digits. 

Testing levels remain high but the seven-day average positivity rate ticked up slightly Sunday, to 5.7 percent — above the 5 percent figure that’s a key threshold in policy decisions by state leaders. Cases have been increasing in all parts of the state in recent weeks.

Percent of COVID-19 tests to come back positive

"Things that we maybe did a month ago, when there was much, much less … community spread and number of cases, are riskier today," Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters on Friday, urging people to continue following guidelines on wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings.

The 17 deaths reported Sunday included 14 residents of long-term care facilities. New COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota continue to trend upward to the highest levels seen since late May.

Active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:

  • 2,234 deaths (17 new)

  • 122,812 positive cases (1,732 new), 108,316 off isolation

  • 2,509,734 tests, 1,681,318 people tested

  • 5.7 percent seven-day positive test rate

Active, confirmed cases last week topped 10,000 and then rose again Sunday to more than 12,200 — another record in the pandemic. 

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day
New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day.

Minnesota health care leaders say they're concerned the rapid spread of the coronavirus will cause staffing problems at clinics and hospitals.

Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis told reporters Friday the problem isn't so much nurses, doctors and other employees being exposed to patients with COVID. She said staff are contracting the virus outside of their workplaces.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

"Community spread is not just a community problem — it's a health care problem," she said. "When our workers have exposure or their family members do — just like everybody in the community, they need to quarantine. That takes them out of providing that critical health care service."

DeCubellis said staff exposures to the coronavirus from the community have more than doubled in recent weeks.

Case counts rising across age groups

New cases are up dramatically over the past month in all age groups. That includes a concerning rise in the number of new cases among Minnesotans ages 60 and older. It’s not clear what’s behind those increases.

People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 27,700 since the pandemic began, including more than 15,800 among people ages 20-24. 

New Minnesota COVID-19 cases by age adjusted for population

The numbers help explain why experts remain particularly concerned about young adults as spreaders of the virus.

While less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to grandparents and other vulnerable populations and that spread could hamper attempts to reopen campuses completely to in-person teaching. 

The number of high school-age children confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 11,200 total cases among children ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began. 

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

Cases surging outside the Twin Cities metro area

Regionally, central, northern and southern Minnesota have driven much of the recent increase in new cases while Hennepin and Ramsey counties show some of the slowest case growth in the state. 

Central Minnesota cases are leaping relative to its population. It’s not clear why. Northern Minnesota, once by far the region least affected by the disease, has also seen its caseload grow dramatically in recent weeks. 

Collectively, rural areas of Minnesota continue to report the most new COVID-19 cases. 

MN counties with the fastest per-capita growth in COVID-19 cases
The six Minnesota counties with the fastest per-capita growth in COVID-19 cases
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Latino, Indigenous cases jump

In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths.

Minnesotans of Hispanic descent are testing positive for COVID-19 at about five times the rate of white Minnesotans. They, along with Black Minnesotans, are also being hospitalized and moved to intensive care units at higher rates than the overall population.

Similar trends hold true for Minnesota’s Indigenous and Asian residents. Counts among Indigenous people have jumped in the last week.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

Last week’s numbers also show newly confirmed cases continuing to accelerate among Latino people in Minnesota.

Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, particularly for undocumented immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them. 


Developments around the state

Capitol event called off after state inquiry about compliance with pandemic-related rules

Organizers of a planned Women's March event at the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday said they called it off after being warned about state rules for large gatherings amid the pandemic.

They wrote in a Facebook post that the Attorney General's Office contacted organizers and "we were told we were facing a $25,000 fine if we didn’t limit the event to 250 people, get names and contact information (for contact tracing) and 9 pages worth of other restrictions." 

Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said Saturday that it made a "routine inquiry" to event organizers to make sure the event was in compliance with pandemic-related state requirements. It said it encouraged organizers to take steps to meet those requirements.

"The Attorney General’s office, the Department of Health, and the Department of Labor and Industry have contacted more than 70 large indoor and outdoor public events across Minnesota in the last several months — everything from sporting events and car shows to flea markets, campaign events, and dog shows — to make sure they are complying with requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19," Ellison's office said in a statement. "This work is all the more important now with the recent spike in cases in Minnesota and the dramatic spikes in the states that border Minnesota." 

State officials said they're focused on education — and that to date, they've only taken enforcement action against one event, the North Star Rodeo in Effie back in July. That case is pending.

Women's March events did take place Saturday in several other communities around the state as well as hundreds of cities nationwide. Organizers of the Capitol event said they're planning an online event on Nov. 1 in place of the canceled gathering.

— MPR News staff

More free testing sites scheduled around Minnesota

As Minnesota continues to see more than 1,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases a day, state health officials are planning another round of free testing sites this week.

They said the testing is vital to determining the spread of the coronavirus across the state.

Free testing will take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Crookston, Montevideo and Monticello, as well as Wednesday and Thursday in Cambridge, and Thursday and Friday at St. Peter's AME Church in Minneapolis. 

Find more details — and schedule an appointment — on the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Officials said the free testing sites are targeted to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks, or barriers to accessing existing test sites. 

Free saliva testing sites are now open in Duluth, Winona and Moorhead — with a Brooklyn Park location scheduled to open Tuesday. Find more information here.

— MPR News Staff


Top headlines

Anoka’s huge Halloween festival returns to its roots amid pandemic: This year marks a century of Halloween celebrations for the Twin Cities suburb. While COVID-19 is forcing Anoka to rein in many of its traditions, the 2020 festival has not been canceled. Here’s what the “Halloween Capital of the World” has planned.

COVID-19 cases tied to MN campaign events — but full impact is unclear: Sixteen cases stemmed from President Donald Trump’s Sept. 18 rally in Bemidji — and four more from the protests outside. So far, only three cases have been traced to Trump’s Sept. 30 rally in Duluth. And one case has been connected to Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign stop at a union training center in Duluth.


To read the original articles and see related COVID-19 reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.  Minnesota’s COVID-19 case count has increased by more than 5,700 over the past three days, as the state recorded its three largest single-day case increases of the pandemic.

Friday’s record of 2,297 new cases was followed by increases of more than 1,700 cases on both Saturday and Sunday. State health officials reported 17 more COVID-19 deaths on Sunday, the fourth time in five days that the daily death toll has been in the double digits. 

Testing levels remain high but the seven-day average positivity rate ticked up slightly Sunday, to 5.7 percent — above the 5 percent figure that’s a key threshold in policy decisions by state leaders. Cases have been increasing in all parts of the state in recent weeks.

Percent of COVID-19 tests to come back positive

"Things that we maybe did a month ago, when there was much, much less … community spread and number of cases, are riskier today," Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters on Friday, urging people to continue following guidelines on wearing face coverings, practicing social distancing and limiting the size of gatherings.

The 17 deaths reported Sunday included 14 residents of long-term care facilities. New COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota continue to trend upward to the highest levels seen since late May.

Active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:

  • 2,234 deaths (17 new)

  • 122,812 positive cases (1,732 new), 108,316 off isolation

  • 2,509,734 tests, 1,681,318 people tested

  • 5.7 percent seven-day positive test rate

Active, confirmed cases last week topped 10,000 and then rose again Sunday to more than 12,200 — another record in the pandemic. 

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day
New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day.

Minnesota health care leaders say they're concerned the rapid spread of the coronavirus will cause staffing problems at clinics and hospitals.

Hennepin Healthcare CEO Jennifer DeCubellis told reporters Friday the problem isn't so much nurses, doctors and other employees being exposed to patients with COVID. She said staff are contracting the virus outside of their workplaces.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

"Community spread is not just a community problem — it's a health care problem," she said. "When our workers have exposure or their family members do — just like everybody in the community, they need to quarantine. That takes them out of providing that critical health care service."

DeCubellis said staff exposures to the coronavirus from the community have more than doubled in recent weeks.

Graph of new ICU and non-ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations

Case counts rising across age groups

New cases are up dramatically over the past month in all age groups. That includes a concerning rise in the number of new cases among Minnesotans ages 60 and older. It’s not clear what’s behind those increases.

People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 27,700 since the pandemic began, including more than 15,800 among people ages 20-24. 

New Minnesota COVID-19 cases by age adjusted for population

The numbers help explain why experts remain particularly concerned about young adults as spreaders of the virus.

While less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to grandparents and other vulnerable populations and that spread could hamper attempts to reopen campuses completely to in-person teaching. 

The number of high school-age children confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 11,200 total cases among children ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began. 

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

Cases surging outside the Twin Cities metro area

Regionally, central, northern and southern Minnesota have driven much of the recent increase in new cases while Hennepin and Ramsey counties show some of the slowest case growth in the state. 

Central Minnesota cases are leaping relative to its population. It’s not clear why. Northern Minnesota, once by far the region least affected by the disease, has also seen its caseload grow dramatically in recent weeks. 

Collectively, rural areas of Minnesota continue to report the most new COVID-19 cases. 

MN counties with the fastest per-capita growth in COVID-19 cases
The six Minnesota counties with the fastest per-capita growth in COVID-19 cases
David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Latino, Indigenous cases jump

In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths.

Minnesotans of Hispanic descent are testing positive for COVID-19 at about five times the rate of white Minnesotans. They, along with Black Minnesotans, are also being hospitalized and moved to intensive care units at higher rates than the overall population.

Similar trends hold true for Minnesota’s Indigenous and Asian residents. Counts among Indigenous people have jumped in the last week.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

Last week’s numbers also show newly confirmed cases continuing to accelerate among Latino people in Minnesota.

Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, particularly for undocumented immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them. 


Developments around the state

Capitol event called off after state inquiry about compliance with pandemic-related rules

Organizers of a planned Women's March event at the Minnesota Capitol on Saturday said they called it off after being warned about state rules for large gatherings amid the pandemic.

They wrote in a Facebook post that the Attorney General's Office contacted organizers and "we were told we were facing a $25,000 fine if we didn’t limit the event to 250 people, get names and contact information (for contact tracing) and 9 pages worth of other restrictions." 

Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office said Saturday that it made a "routine inquiry" to event organizers to make sure the event was in compliance with pandemic-related state requirements. It said it encouraged organizers to take steps to meet those requirements.

"The Attorney General’s office, the Department of Health, and the Department of Labor and Industry have contacted more than 70 large indoor and outdoor public events across Minnesota in the last several months — everything from sporting events and car shows to flea markets, campaign events, and dog shows — to make sure they are complying with requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19," Ellison's office said in a statement. "This work is all the more important now with the recent spike in cases in Minnesota and the dramatic spikes in the states that border Minnesota." 

State officials said they're focused on education — and that to date, they've only taken enforcement action against one event, the North Star Rodeo in Effie back in July. That case is pending.

Women's March events did take place Saturday in several other communities around the state as well as hundreds of cities nationwide. Organizers of the Capitol event said they're planning an online event on Nov. 1 in place of the canceled gathering.

— MPR News staff

More free testing sites scheduled around Minnesota

As Minnesota continues to see more than 1,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases a day, state health officials are planning another round of free testing sites this week.

They said the testing is vital to determining the spread of the coronavirus across the state.

Free testing will take place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Crookston, Montevideo and Monticello, as well as Wednesday and Thursday in Cambridge, and Thursday and Friday at St. Peter's AME Church in Minneapolis. 

Find more details — and schedule an appointment — on the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Officials said the free testing sites are targeted to areas with COVID-19 outbreaks, or barriers to accessing existing test sites. 

Free saliva testing sites are now open in Duluth, Winona and Moorhead — with a Brooklyn Park location scheduled to open Tuesday. Find more information here.

— MPR News Staff


Top headlines

Anoka’s huge Halloween festival returns to its roots amid pandemic: This year marks a century of Halloween celebrations for the Twin Cities suburb. While COVID-19 is forcing Anoka to rein in many of its traditions, the 2020 festival has not been canceled. Here’s what the “Halloween Capital of the World” has planned.

COVID-19 cases tied to MN campaign events — but full impact is unclear: Sixteen cases stemmed from President Donald Trump’s Sept. 18 rally in Bemidji — and four more from the protests outside. So far, only three cases have been traced to Trump’s Sept. 30 rally in Duluth. And one case has been connected to Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign stop at a union training center in Duluth.


To read the original stories and see related reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website. 
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/10/19/latest-on-covid19-in-mn
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