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The daily coronavirus update: 20 more deaths; Minnesota launches at-home saliva test pilot program

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 2,301 Minnesotans with COVID-19 have died.

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 October 22, 2020:

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128,512 cases; 2,301 deaths

Twenty more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday, for a total of 2,301.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Thursday, five were in their 70s, eight people in their 80s, six in their 90s and one person age 100 or over. Thirteen of the 20 deaths announced Thursday were of residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Thursday there have been 128,512 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 1,561 from Wednesday’s count and is based on 26,626 new tests. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

The current caseload and death toll combines Minnesotans with positive PCR tests and positive antigen tests approved under a Food and Drug emergency authorization use. MDH added antigen tests to case counts on Oct. 14.

The most recent data available show 154 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 430 are in the hospital with COVID-19 not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

More information on cases can be found here.

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State launches at-home saliva test program

Minnesota health officials announced Thursday that the state has launched a pilot at-home COVID-19 saliva test program.

The program will be available statewide “as soon as possible,” according to a press release from MDH, but for now, at-home tests are currently available to residents of the following counties: Rock, Kittson, Le Sueur, Beltrami, Wilkin, Carver, Nobles, Wright, Dakota, Mower, Becker, Kandiyohi, Crow Wing, Cook, Aitkin, Steele, Itasca, Douglas, Lyon, Pine, Otter Tail, Swift County and Pennington. Testing is also available to the Red Lake Nation.

Participants in this test program order a test online. After a kit is shipped to their home, they take the test, directed by a health professional through a telehealth visit. The sample tube is shipped to a new lab in Oakdale to be processed, and results are available by email within 24 to 48 hours, according to MDH.

Those with insurance are asked to provide it so it can be billed for the test, which should cover the cost, and MDH says the state will pick up the cost for anybody who is uninsured or underinsured.

More information can be found here.

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