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The daily coronavirus update: 7 more deaths; metro-area saliva-testing site open

Since the start of the pandemic, a total of 2,246 Minnesotans who tested positive for 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 20, 2020:

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125,531 cases; 2,246 deaths

Seven more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 2,246.

Of the deaths announced Tuesday, one person was in their 50s, two were in their 80s and four in their 90s. Five of the seven deaths were among residents of long-term care. MDH also said Tuesday there have been 125,531 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of cases is up 1,092 from Monday’s count and is based on 13,903 new tests (Tuesdays typically have the lowest case and test volume since they reflect activity over the weekend) . 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 155 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 412 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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Saliva testing sites open

MDH is in the process of opening COVID-19 saliva test sites across the state. Saliva tests use the same processing technology as the nasal swabs, but samples are collected via saliva. These tests are expected to have shorter turnaround time due to being processed at a new facility in Oakdale.

Sites in Winona and Moorhead opened in the last week, and a site in Brooklyn Park opened Tuesday. More sites are expected to open in the coming weeks (you can read more about the announcement of these sites in last Tuesday’s coronavirus update).

Insurance will be billed for those who have it, but Minnesotans will not have to pay out-of-pocket for the tests. Those without insurance or who are underinsured will not be charged.

Appointments are recommended and more information can be found here.

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Around the web

  • Early vaccine trial data should come out soon. It could be pretty ambiguous, the Atlantic reports.
  • The U.K.’s chief scientific advisor says coronavirus could become as endemic as the flu, via CNBC.

MDH’s coronavirus website:

MDH’s phone line for COVID-19 questions, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m: 651-297-1304