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The daily coronavirus update: 17 more deaths; 557 new cases in Minnesota

The 17 deaths represent the highest one-day death toll since June 19. The state has reported more than 10 deaths in a day only three times so far in July and August.

COVID-19
COVID-19
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 August 19, 2020:

66,618 confirmed cases; 1,738 deaths

Seventeen more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said Wednesday, for a total of 1,738. The 17 deaths represent the highest one-day death toll since June 19. The state has reported more than 10 deaths in a day only three times so far in July and August.

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Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, six were in their 90s, four were in their 80s, six were in their 70s and one was in their 60s. Eight of the 17 deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,738 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,295 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 66,618 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 557 from Tuesday’s count and is based on roughly 12,100 tests. The state reported a total of 34,879 new tests, but most of those came from a backlog of tests stretching back to April that were just now logged into the state’s data system. The vast majority of these tests were negative. Jan Malcolm, MDH commissioner, said the state periodically has to report a backlog when they bring a new testing lab on board for electronically reporting results.

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You can find Minnesota’s seven-day positive case average here. Since the start of the outbreak, 5,988 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 321 are currently in the hospital, 152 of which are in intensive care. The number of people in the hospital is up by 17. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 66,618 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 60,242 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

State to test long-term care inspectors

Malcolm said Wednesday that MDH is planning to start testing staff members who inspect long-term care facilities. Currently those staffers wear personal protective equipment while in the facilities but aren’t regularly tested by the state. 

Kris Ehresmann, MDH infectious disease director, said there is no consensus among other states they have reached out to on whether testing is the right course of action. Malcolm said appropriate use of PPE and careful attention to infection prevention measures is the best way to prevent COVID-19 spread, but that testing of staff could help.

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Around the web

MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

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