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The daily coronavirus update: 66 more deaths as positivity rate in Minnesota continues to decline

MDH also reported 1,997 new cases on Wednesday, based on 25,729 tests.

COVID-19
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 December 30, 2020:

    • 413,107 cases; 5,262 deaths
    • Some Minnesota vaccination data now available daily
    • MDH addresses concerns about reporting of COVID-19 deaths 
    • Antibody therapy available for some Minnesotans

413,107 cases; 5,262 deaths

Sixty-six more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 5,262.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, one was over 100 years old, 18 were in their 90s, 27 were in their 80s, six were in their 70s, eight were in their 60s, four were in their 50s, one was in their 40s and one was in their 30s. Forty-three of the 66 people whose deaths announced Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities. Twenty-six of the deceased were metro area residents while 40 lived in Greater Minnesota.

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While the number of deaths remains high, other numbers suggest the virus may be abating somewhat, even if there is still a significant amount of COVID-19 in the state.

MDH said Wednesday there have been 413,107 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 1,997 from the total announced on Tuesday and is based on 25,729 new tests. MDH encouraged Minnesotans to take advantage of the state’s testing facilities, which are not currently being used to their full capacity.

The most recent seven-day positivity average, which lags by a week, is 5.3 percent, less than half of what it was at the end of November. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

Hospitalization numbers remain lower than they were at their peak a month ago. The most recent data available show 207 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 719 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.

More vaccination data now available

MDH announced it will provide information on how many people have been vaccinated in Minnesota as reported to its state vaccination program each weekday, instead of doing so once a week, as it had originally planned. As of Saturday, 38,284 Minnesotans had been vaccinated. That information can be found here.

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MDH will continue to update vaccination distribution data, or the number of vaccines allotted to the state, weekly. Vaccine distribution data can be found here.

Officials cautioned against comparing the two numbers, however, since some Minnesotans vaccinated using federal allocations instead of the state allocation (examples of this could include through the Veteran’s Administration or tribal health) may be reported to the state vaccination database.

MDH addresses concerns about reporting of COVID-19 deaths 

Republican legislators have raised concerns about a person who supposedly had tested positive for COVID-19 but then died in a car collision and was then alleged to have been counted in the state’s COVID-19 tally. Asked whether something like this could happen, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the department has a process for reviewing death certificates and that such a death would not be counted as a COVID-19 death.

Antibody therapy available for some Minnesotans

Some Minnesotans are eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment, which trials suggest can decrease hospitalizations and is available at some Minnesota providers, State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said.

The synthetic antibody treatment is approved under an FDA emergency use authorization. Minnesotans are eligible to receive the treatment if they test positive for COVID-19, are within 10 days of starting to have symptoms, are age 12 or older or weigh at least 88 pounds, are at high risk of severe COVID-19 illness or are at high risk of hospital admission due to the virus.

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More information can be found here.

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MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

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