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The daily coronavirus update: third day of increased new cases; some cases tied to bar visits

The Minnesota Department of Health also said Friday that five more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, for a total of 1,411.

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 26:

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34,616 confirmed cases; 1,411 deaths

Five more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday, for a total of 1,411.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Friday, one was in their 90s, three were in their 80s and one was in their 60s. All of the deaths announced Friday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,411 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,112 have been among residents of long-term care.

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

MDH also said Friday there have been 34,616 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 493 from Thursday’s count and is based on 14,560 new tests. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

Friday’s case total represents a third consecutive day of increases, though the number of tests reported Friday was also large. It’s unclear whether this yet represents a trend. In general, cases have been declining, with small waves of increases amid the decline every week or so, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said, adding that the state is watching what happens in the coming days closely given increasing caseloads in some states that have reopened.

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Since the start of the outbreak, 3,966 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 335 are currently in the hospital, 157 in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 34,616 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 30,008 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

Cases attributed to bars in Mankato, Minneapolis

More than 100 recent COVID-19 cases are believed to be associated with people who visited two bars in Mankato, Rounders and The 507, over the weekend of June 12 and June 13.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann
Through case investigations, MDH has learned that a number of people involved work in child care, which means their workplaces will have to take precautions, Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said.

“It’s a sad example of how COVID works,” she said. “Just because you feel you’re not at risk doesn’t mean you can’t get COVID and spread it to others.”

Thirty cases are associated with young adults going to bars in Minneapolis, including The Kollege Klub in Dinkytown and Cowboy Jack’s in downtown. The onset of these cases was between June 14 and June 21.

People who visited those bars and are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to be tested for COVID-19.

The median age of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota has been dropping and is now 39.6 years old. That’s concerning to health officials because young people are more likely to be asymptomatic or think they’re not susceptible to the disease, but may pass it onto others at high risk of complications.

Officials estimate 10 times more cases than tests

On Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield estimated there have been 10 times as many COVID-19 cases as have been confirmed by laboratories.

In the U.S., about 2.4 million have had confirmed cases, meaning the true number could look more like 24 million, or roughly 7 percent of the country’s population.

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On Friday, MDH officials said that number seemed in-line with how many cases there may have been here.

Ten times Minnesota’s 34,616 confirmed cases would be 346,160, or about 6 percent of the state’s population.

“We need to keep reinforcing that a small percentage of our population has been exposed so far so that means the majority of Minnesotans remain vulnerable to infection,” Malcolm said.

Minnesota Medical Association calls for masks indoors

The Minnesota Medical Association, which represents doctors and doctors in training, is calling public and private leaders to require the wearing of masks in indoor settings in Minnesota to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Minnesota is seeing improvements in COVID-19 cases, but the threat of this virus is not over,” Dr. Keith Stelter, the MMA’s president, said in a statement. “The medical benefits of wearing a mask are clear — a mask helps reduce virus transmission, particularly by individuals who are sick but have no symptoms and by individuals who have been infected but do not yet show any symptoms. Masks are also safe to wear.”

On Friday, Malcolm said the evidence of masks’ benefits — not just to the general public but also potentially the wearer, new research suggests— has grown over the course of the pandemic.

The state has not made masks mandatory in all enclosed spaces, but Malcolm said it’s logical given the evidence about masks cutting transmission to ask whether mandatory mask-wearing should accompany some of the reopenings. She said MDH is supportive of local mask requirements in some Minnesota cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Today on MinnPost

  • Early voting for the August primary starts today in Minnesota. Here’s what that will look like this year.
  • Pamela Espeland talks to the Trylon Cinema about shutting down — and reopening — amid COVID-19.
  • Asking yourself how long it’s been since this all started? Us too. 
  • As always, a look at the numbers on the MinnPost COVID-19 dashboard.

Around the web

MDH’s coronavirus website:

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