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The daily coronavirus update: 36 deaths and more than 5,000 new cases — both Minnesota records

With Friday’s new totals, Minnesota’s death toll since the start of the pandemic stands at 2,591.

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 November 6, 2020:

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170,307 cases; 2,591 deaths

Thirty-six more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday, for a total of 2,591. That is the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 announced in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The previous record for deaths reported in a day was 35, a number that was reached on both May 28 and Oct. 31.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Friday, three were in their 40s, two were in their 60s, eight were in their 70s , 13 were in their 80s, nine were in their 90s and one was 100 or older. Twenty-three of the 36 deaths announced Friday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Friday there have been 170,307 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 5,442 from Thursday’s count and is based on 45,769 new tests, a record. Friday represents the fourth day in a row with a daily new case record.

“Finding more cases is not just a matter of testing more,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Friday.

Case positivity rates continue to increase, and were at a seven-day average of 9.8 percent on Friday, up from 7 percent a week prior. The seven-day positivity average is nearly double the 5 percent level that represents a concern. 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.

Hospitals in Minnesota are getting close to capacity. The most recent data available show 224 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 814 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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No additional restrictions announced

Given the growth in cases in recent weeks, Malcolm was asked whether the state was considering additional restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

She said officials continue to discuss what measures are likely to work best, but said Minnesotans aren’t following current guidance.

“If Minnesotans were following the guidance that currently exists, we wouldn’t need further dial backs, but just given the fact we’ve not seen those behavior changes, we just need to keep getting that message out,” she said.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann encouraged Minnesotans to curb risky behavior in order to stop the virus’ spread to stop the filling of hospitals and the growth in deaths.

“We really need people to take this thing seriously and to make some changes so that we can be ahead of this and not be responding downstream,” she said.

Spread in communities threaten long-term care facilities

MDH warned that measures to control COVID-19 infections in long-term care facilities can only go so far when community spread is at high levels as it is now. With high levels of transmission across Minnesota, the virus is more likely to be introduced by staff or visitors, many of whom may have gotten the virus from someone who didn’t know they were infected, and don’t know they’re infected themselves.

Despite better testing and infection control resources than in months prior, Minnesota has seen 1,104 cases of COVID-19 in residents or staff of long-term care facilities in the space of a week. The last time case numbers were over 1,000 in one week in long-term care was in May, Malcolm said.

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Saliva testing site to open in Minneapolis Monday

MDH has announced the opening of an eighth COVID-19 saliva testing site on Monday in Minneapolis. The site, at the Minneapolis Convention Center, will be open daily; from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Insurance will be billed for those who have it but those who are uninsured or underinsured will not be charged for tests. Appointments can be made here.

MDH has several community testing events on the horizon. More information can be found here. Reservations are recommended.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

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