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The daily coronavirus update: 92 more deaths, 2,248 new cases in Minnesota

The deaths announced Wednesday represent the third-highest single-day during the pandemic. 

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 16, 2020:

386,412 cases; 4,575 deaths

Ninety-two more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 4,575. The deaths announced Wednesday represents the third-highest number of deaths announced in a single day over the course of the pandemic. 

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Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, three were over 100 years old, 18 were in their 90s, 39 were in their 80s, 20 were in their 70s, nine were in their 60s, two were in their 50s and one was in their 40s. Fifty-four of the 92 people whose deaths announced Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Wednesday there have been 386,412 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 2,248 from the total announced on Tuesday and is based on 19,644 new tests. The seven-day case positivity average, which lags by a week, is 10.4 percent, down from 13.1 percent a week prior. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

The most recent data available show 304 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, down from a peak of 399 in early December; 973 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.

Walz announces plan to open elementary schools, loosens some restrictions on gyms, school sports

With a four-week “pause” that shuttered restaurant dining rooms and gyms amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations set to expire Friday, Gov. Tim Walz announced changes to Minnesota’s COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday.

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You can read a lot more about this in MinnPost’s story about the latest order, but here are the highlights:

  • Schools: Starting Jan. 18, elementary schools can operate in-person if they use COVID-19 mitigation strategies including requiring staff to wear face shields and masks and offering frequent testing.
  • Gatherings: Not recommended indoors, but people can gather with up to 10 people, effective Dec. 19, as long as they are not from more than two separate households. Outdoor social gatherings can include up to three households and 15 total people. Masks and social distancing are “strongly encouraged.”
  • Gyms: Can open at 25 percent capacity with a max of 100 people. More guidance on group fitness classes, allowed to start up again Jan. 4, is on the way.
  • Youth and adult sports: Practice can start up again Jan. 4, with guidance on safe practice forthcoming. Sports guidance is no longer tied to county case data or the mode of learning at a school.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues: Allowed at 25 percent capacity with up to 100 people. If food and drinks are served, everyone must be sitting. 
  • Bars and restaurants: May not serve indoors but may serve outdoors with 50 percent capacity, up to 100 people. No more than four to a table.
  • Indoor entertainment venues and event spaces are closed until Jan. 11.

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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