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The daily coronavirus update: 23 more deaths; emergency-declaration update expected Wednesday

The current emergency declaration, which was originally decalred on March 13, is set to expire Wednesday.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

For the foreseeable future, MinnPost will be providing daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota, published following the press phone call conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) with Gov. Tim Walz and administration officials each afternoon.

Here are the latest updates from May 12, 2020:

12,494 confirmed cases; 614 deaths

Twenty-three more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 614.

Among the people whose deaths were announced Tuesday were 14 Hennepin County residents, two Anoka County residents, two Itasca County residents, two Ramsey County residents, one Cass County resident, one Le Sueur County resident and one Washington County resident.

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Six of the deceased were in their nineties, nine were in their eighties, four were in their seventies, one was in their sixties and three were in their fifties. Nineteen of the 23 were residents of long-term care.

The current death toll only includes Minnesotans with lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

MDH also said Tuesday there have been 12,494 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, up 695 from Monday’s count. Because Minnesota is only now developing the capacity to test everybody with symptoms, the number of confirmed cases of the virus is assumed to be significantly higher.

Since the start of the outbreak, 1,799 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 496 are currently in the hospital, 199 in intensive care. Of the 12,494 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 8,223 no longer need to be isolated, which means they are believed to have recovered or have died

A total of 120,834 COVID-19 tests have been completed in Minnesota.

More information on cases can be found here.

Stay-at-home, emergency declaration updates expected

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to make an announcement Wednesday regarding both his stay-at-home order and peacetime emergency declaration.

The stay-at-home order first went into effect March 27 and currently set to expire Monday. Walz has suggested in the past he prefers making incremental changes to the order rather than lifting it wholesale.

The peacetime emergency, declared March 13 and later extended, is set to expire Wednesday. Many Republicans are chafing at the emergency declaration, as it gives Walz extended powers.

A public update on the COVID-19 model built by MDH and the University of Minnesota that estimates when the virus will peak in Minnesota is expected in the next couple days.

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Cases jump in Kandiyohi and Chippewa counties

As of Tuesday, 367 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kandiyohi County and another 21 have tested positive in Chippewa County, an uptick over the last few days that officials said was related to meatpacking plants.

As of May 8, health officials had reported 261 confirmed cases in Kandiyohi County and 5 cases in Chippewa County. Ehresmann said there was very targeted testing in Nobles and Stearns counties, two known hot spots, to find cases in meat processing plants. Now, “we’re also seeing increases in Kandiyohi and Chippewa counties for the same reason,” Ehresmann said.

Ehresmann said at factories where people must work closer together “there is a greater potential for spread.” While Ehresmann didn’t name specific meat plants that may have outbreaks, Jennie-O temporarily shut down operations last month at two processing plants in Willmar, in Kandiyohi County, after more than a dozen employees tested positive for COVID-19. One of the two facilities reopened on Thursday.

“I think we can expect that we will continue to see cases,” Ehresmann said.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

Hotline, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: 651-201-3920