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The daily coronavirus update: Minnesota reports lowest one-day death toll in more than two months

Four more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 1,384. That represents the lowest one-day death toll since April 12.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

For the foreseeable future, MinnPost will be providing daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota, published following the press phone call with members of the Walz administration each afternoon.

Here are the latest updates from June 22:

33,227 confirmed cases; 1,384 deaths

Four more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 1,384. That represents the lowest one-day death toll since April 13.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Monday, two were in their 80s, one was in their 70s and one was in their 60s. Two of the four deaths announced Monday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,384 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,095 have been among residents of long-term care.

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

MDH also said Monday there have been 33,227 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 307 from Sunday’s count and is based on 8,664 new tests. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

Since the start of the outbreak, 3,830 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 332 are currently in the hospital, 156 in intensive care. There are now fewer people in the ICU for COVID-19 than there was on May 5, when intensive care cases began a month-long rise.  You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 33,227 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 29,065 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

COVID-19 deaths still declining after George Floyd protests

Roughly a month since protests erupted over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, mass gatherings in the state have so far not appeared to reverse Minnesota’s downward trend in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said more than 15,000 people have been tested in the Twin Cities following protests and other events, including at four free community testing sites. The rate at which those tests were positive was under 2 percent, Malcolm said. The seven-day average statewide is about 4 percent, according to MDH data updated June 9.

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Health officials have said it takes at least three weeks to judge the full effects of a gathering on the spread of COVID-19. The daily number of deaths have largely declined over the last few weeks and the majority of deaths are among long-term care facilities. Daily new cases reported so far in mid-June are also lower than in mid-May. And ICU usage is at low levels not seen since early May.

Emergency room usage has dropped, MDH says

State health officials are urging people to use emergency rooms when necessary as national data show a drop in visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency room trips have declined 42 percent through May when compared to pre-pandemic use, which MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said is most likely caused by fear of COVID-19.

Emergency department visits have declined 23 percent for heart attacks, 20 percent for strokes and 10 percent for hypoglycemic crises (low blood sugar), which Ehresmann said was concerning. While she said some people use emergency rooms “more for convenience than need,” which could explain some drop-in use, that wouldn’t be the case for life-threatening situations like a heart attack.

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“It suggests patients with these conditions either could not access care or are avoiding seeking care,” Ehresmann said. She stressed that people should use the emergency room during a medical emergency, regardless of the state of the pandemic.

Ehresmann said she had no Minnesota-specific data but said the national data included Minnesota.

Today on MinnPost

Around the web

  • A harrowing account of life as a New York City paramedic reported by the Washington Post. “I’ve got five paramedics in the ground from this virus already and a few more on ventilators. Another rookie EMT just committed suicide.”
  • ‘They just dumped him like trash’: The New York Times reports on how nursing homes are evicting vulnerable residents amid COVID-19.
  • In Maine, a Black person is more than 20 times as likely to have tested positive for COVID-19 as a white person. The Bangor Daily News on Maine’s racial disparities.

MDH’s coronavirus website:

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