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The daily coronavirus update: hospitalizations continue to rise in Minnesota

MDH also reported 83 new cases among residents or staff in long-term care facilities, up from 40 announced Tuesday — with the majority of the new cases among health care workers.

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 29:

52,947 confirmed cases; 1,589 deaths

Nine more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 1,589.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, three were in their 90s, two were in their 80s, three were in their 70s and one was in their 50s. Seven of the nine deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,589 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,216 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 Wednesday there have been 52,947 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 666 from Tuesday’s count and is based on 13,481 new tests.  The seven-day rolling positivity average is 4.9 percent, up from 4.7 percent a week ago. You can find the seven-day positive case average over time here.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann projected concern as she discussed the continued rise in cases, many of which continue to come from restaurants and bars. She stressed that cases showing up in data today reflect activity that happened two or more weeks ago, and warned Minnesotans to take precautions or risk seeing Minnesota overwhelmed by coronavirus like other states have been in recent weeks.

“Weekly average case growth is increasing and we are concerned about where this is headed,” she said.

Hospitalization numbers, which plunged from May to mid-July, continued their rise in the weeks since on Wednesday. Today, 310 are in the hospital, 143 in intensive care. Numbers this high have not been seen since a month ago, and overnight, hospitalizations increased by 16, and ICU hospitalizations increased by five. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here. 

Of the 52,947 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 46,636 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

Increase in cases among long-term care staff

MDH reported 83 new cases among residents or staff in long-term care facilities, up from 40 announced Tuesday, and the majority of them — 64 of the 83 — were among health care workers. In recent weeks, the number of new daily cases in long-term care facilities had tended to be 20 or fewer. 

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“This is a concern for us because no matter how hard everyone works to prevent the spread of COVID among residents, there are limits to what we can do from a systems standpoint to prevent workers from getting infected and unknowingly bringing it into the facilities in which they work,” Ehresmann said.

She stressed the importance of Minnesotans being mindful of not just their own personal risk due to coronavirus but of all the roles they play in their lives and how they may expose vulnerable people.

“No one in Minnesota is on the sidelines of the fight. We’re all directly involved and have choices to make,” Ehresmann said. “Every time you mask up or don’t. Every time you observe social distancing or don’t. Every time you stay home and separate if you’re sick or awaiting a COVID test result or don’t. Every time you cover your cough and wash your hands or don’t. Every time you choose to do the right thing or ignore the protective guidance you are contributing to the solution or the crisis.”

15 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Minnesota children

MDH said Minnesota has seen 15 confirmed cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a Kawasaki-like inflammatory disease in children thought to be linked to COVID-19. 

The majority of Minnesota cases — 75 percent, compared to 70 percent of the 342 confirmed cases nationally — have been in Black or Hispanic children. The majority of cases in Minnesota, 70 percent, have been among male children. The average age of children with confirmed cases in Minnesota is 5, and most are under age 10.

All but two of the children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome tested positive for COVID-19, and the two who didn’t had clear epidemiologic links to known cases of the virus.

Treatment is generally very successful, Ehresmann said, and no Minnesota children have died related to complications of multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Nationally, six children have died.

Feds sending remdesivir weekly

MDH said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sending shipments of remdesivir, an antiviral medication that’s shown promise in treating patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

As cases have surged around the country, some hospitals are reporting shortages of the drug.

If hospitals run out of supply between shipments, they are encouraged to contact MDH about getting doses from its small reserve supply.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

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