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The daily coronavirus update: 8 more deaths in Minnesota; increases seen as likely

MDH said there have now been 43,742 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 572 from Tuesday’s count.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from July 15, 2020:

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43,742 confirmed cases; 1,518 deaths 

Eight more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 1,518.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, one was over 100 years old, one was in their 90s, one was in their 80s, one was in their 70s, two were in their 60s, one was in their 50s and one was in their 40s. Five of the eight deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,518 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,180 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 Wednesday there have been 43,742 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 572 from Tuesday’s count and is based on 12,452 new tests. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

Since the start of the outbreak, 4,495 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 254 are currently in the hospital, 106 in intensive care. While ICU cases remain low compared to the prior two months, the number of people reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19, but not in intensive care, has jumped from 103 on Friday to 148 on Wednesday. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 43,742 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 38,179 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

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Health officials say increase in deaths likely despite younger age of those infected

While the median age of known COVID-19 cases is now 37.5 years old, which is down from 40.5 a month ago, Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state epidemiologist, said she expects deaths to begin to rise in Minnesota.

Younger people are less likely to have a severe illness, but Lynfield said those people can spread COVID-19 to family members, coworkers, or other contacts who may be older or more at risk. Lynfield also said since hospitalizations are on the rise, if Minnesota mirrors the experience of other states, deaths should rise too.

“I do expect to see an increase in deaths in the coming weeks,” Lynfield said.

Parents should make a plan in case they get sick, says MDH

MDH is urging Minnesota parents to make a care plan in case they become too sick to care for their children. Kris Ehresmann, the MDH infectious disease director, said parents in Minnesota and around the state have fallen ill and been unable to look after kids for a short period of time. Even in two-parent households, COVID-19 can easily infect both parents and make them seriously sick.

M Health Fairview releases commercial antibody test; health officials say interpret results with caution

Health officials said people seeking a new commercial antibody test announced by M Health Fairview on Wednesday should not assume they are safe from COVID-19 if a test finds they previously had the disease. 

Lynfield said scientists still don’t know if people who recover from COVID-19 have protective immunity or how long that immunity may last. And she said antibody tests are less accurate when prevalence of the disease is low, as they believe it is in Minnesota.

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While broad monitoring of antibody testing, known as serology testing, by health officials can be useful to help determine spread of the disease, results for individual people may not be significant, Lynfield said. 

Though she said people who have had COVID-19 and want to donate plasma to help treat other patients is “something we would absolutely encourage.” People can contact the Memorial Blood Center or the Mayo Clinic to do that, Lynfield said.

M Health Fairview said their new FDA approved commercial antibody test will be available without a doctor’s recommendation at six locations in the Twin Cities metro area. The test costs $45 to determine if someone has COVID-19 antibodies, or $55 for a test that determines antibody presence and antibody levels.

Case fatality rates by age group

Ehresmann on Wednesday detailed the rate at which people with known cases of COVID-19 have died in Minnesota. They are as follows:

Birth through age 19: No deaths (out of 5,353 cases)

Ages 20 through 29: 0.02 percent (Two deaths out of 10,097 cases)

Ages 30 through 39: 0.13 percent (11 deaths out of 8,256 cases)

Ages 40 through 49: 0.31 percent (20 deaths out of 6,441 cases)

Ages 50 through 59: 1.36 percent (78 deaths out of 5,741 cases)

Ages 60 through 69: 5.47 percent (184 deaths out of 3,366 cases)

Ages 70 through 79: 15.26 percent (287 deaths out of 1,881 cases)

Ages 80 through 89: 30.82 percent (516 deaths out of 1,674 cases)

Ages 90 through 99: 44.48 percent (391 deaths out of 879 cases)

People age 100 or older: 58 percent (29 deaths out of 50 cases)

Ehresmann noted that young people who recover from COVID-19 may still face long-term health effects.

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