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The daily coronavirus update: 61 more deaths, 5,347 new cases in Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that from the beginning of October through the end of November, new cases in long-term care facilities increased by more than 400 percent. 

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 December 4, 2020:

338,973 cases; 3,845 deaths

Sixty-one more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday, for a total of 3,845.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Friday, 16 were in their 90s, 22 were in their 80s, 19 were in their 70s, three were in their 60s and one was in their 40s. Thirty-six of the 61 people whose deaths announced Friday were residents of long-term care facilities.

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Forty-one of the deaths came in Greater Minnesota while 20 came in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. In the week between Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, there were 199 deaths reported in Greater Minnesota and 109 in the metro.

There have been 252 deaths reported through four days of December, which is more than the death toll in the months of July (159), August (216) and September (219).

MDH also said Friday there have been 338,973 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 5,347 from the total announced on Thursday and is based on 60,544 new tests. Minnesota’s seven-day positive case average, which lags by a week, is 10.2 percent and continues to decline. It is still well above 5-percent, which health officials say is a concerning sign of widespread outbreak.

The most recent data available show 367 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 1,312 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.

Cases, deaths, rise in long-term care facilities

As COVID-19 spiked around Minnesota in October and November, cases and deaths in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes also increased, health officials told reporters Friday.

Despite state efforts to use testing, protective equipment and other means to insulate the facilities, which typically house the elderly and people with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19, the disease has crept in.

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MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said from the start of September through the end of October, new cases in Minnesota increased by 73 percent, but new cases in long-term care facilities increased by only 15 percent. From the beginning of October through the end of November, however, new cases in the state and in long-term care facilities increased by more than 400 percent, Malcolm said.

“Even the strongest floodwalls aren’t sufficient if the waters rise high enough,” Malcolm said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

The escalating impact of COVID-19 has forced many long-term care facilities to restrict people from visiting residents. Malcolm said federal data show Minnesota has the 31st-highest number of cases among residents of long-term care facilities per 1,000 residents compared to other states. Minnesota has the 27th-highest number of deaths in long-term care per 1,000 residents.

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Of the 3,845 COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota, 2,559 have been among residents of long-term care.

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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