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The daily coronavirus update: Minnesota sets another single-day record with 31 deaths, 3,827 new cases

Greater Minnesota continues to be a hotspot for 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 October 4, 2020:

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160,923 cases; 2,530 deaths

Thirty-one more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 2,530. 

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, one person was in their 30s, one was in their 50s, one was in their 60s, two were in their 70s, 13 were in their 80s and 13 were in their 90s. Nineteen of the 31 deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities.

Greater Minnesota, particularly western and central Minnesota, continue to be hotspots for COVID-19. Continuing a recent trend, 23 of the 31 deaths reported Wednesday were in Greater Minnesota, compared to eight in the metro area.

MDH also said Wednesday there have been 160,923 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 3,827 from Tuesday’s count and is based on 32,775 new tests.

Wednesday’s new positive case count represents a single-day record — the fourth case record Minnesota has set in a week. Days with upwards of 3,000 cases have become a new norm, and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm warned Minnesotans to brace themselves for days with more than 4,000 cases.

Wednesday was also the first day Malcolm said she can recall at least one new case reported in each of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Because of the level of spread across the state, gatherings — a major source of transmission — are much riskier than they once were.

Because caseloads are so high, Minnesotans are at higher risk than they once were of contracting the virus, health officials said. Malcolm asked Minnesotans to mitigate the risk of passing COVID to others by keeping group numbers low when gathering, staying outside, keeping 6 feet apart and wearing masks.

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In recent days, cases have been increasing faster than tests, and the seven-day positivity average has increased to 9.2 percent, up from 6.6 percent a week ago. 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 203 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 705 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.

Hospitals face rising caseloads, staffing shortages

As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise, hospitals in the Twin Cities metro are nearing capacity and facing staff shortages.

Hospitals in the Twin Cities metro are currently at 98 percent capacity, and 97 percent for medical-surgical beds. Statewide, hospitals are at 92 percent capacity and 88 percent for medical-surgical beds, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said Wednesday.

But it’s not just beds that are a concern, it’s also staffing. A precipitous rise in cases has sidelined many of the state’s health workers. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help with staffing support for long-term care facilities and hospitals, according to his office.

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Walz asked for an additional 10 medical professionals to help facilities with shortages due to increased case numbers.

MDH: stay safe while hunting

As deer season approaches, Ehresmann provided Minnesotans tips on staying safe while hunting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Indoor hunting shacks or shelters have the same COVID-19 concerns as other indoor spaces. When hunting with people outside their immediate households, she urged Minnesotans to maintain 6 feet of distance indoors or outdoors, wear a mask, and stay home if they’re feeling under the weather.

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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