Confirmed cases climb past 20,000 in Minnesota
As crowds lined up for a second day of free COVID-19 testing at six National Guard armories around Minnesota on Sunday, the state saw its number of confirmed cases climb past 20,000.
The death toll now stands at 869.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Sunday reported 730 more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, for a total of 20,573. The state reported 8,471 completed tests — the second day in a row with a total exceeding 8,000.
Officials reported the deaths of 17 more Minnesotans from COVID-19; 12 of those people were residents of long-term care facilities, which have seen the majority of deaths from the disease in Minnesota.
The number of people hospitalized dropped to 553, down from a record high — 568 — in Saturday’s report.
The number of people being treated in ICUs dropped to 207, from 215 on Saturday.
About 64 percent of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Minnesota have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday announced new guidance for places of worship, allowing churches, mosques and synagogues to resume services starting Wednesday as along as they keep gatherings to no more than 25 percent of building occupancy.
But state health officials say those new rules — and other recent easing of stay-at-home measures — don’t mean the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
“Large gatherings continue to present a clear, documented risk for increasing the spread of COVID-19. We continue to see pretty rapid increases in our numbers of cases and deaths,” State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Saturday at a press briefing with Walz. “So even though we are slowly and carefully trying to open up opportunities for Minnesotans to resume activities that are so important … this does not mean we’re on the other side of this.”
“I think it’s going to be very difficult over the next couple weeks. It is my belief we are going to see some pretty rough weeks when we head to that peak no matter what we do,” Walz cautioned.
Malcolm said some Twin Cities hospitals have had to start using so-called surge capacity.
“Our Level 1 trauma centers have had to activate additional beds, which is really important because we need those Level 1 trauma centers, obviously, to be able to fulfill their entire missions, and not only be full with COVID cases,” she said.
Free COVID-19 testing will continue Sunday and Monday at six National Guard armories across Minnesota.
It started on Saturday in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Moorhead, St. James and Faribault.
At the Minneapolis location, there was a line when testing started Saturday morning with wait times estimated at 2 to 3 hours. National Guard officials reported later Saturday that wait times had decreased.
“We are glad to see” the strong turnout, Malcolm said Saturday. “I know that people are waiting in lines and there’s an awful lot of demand there — and we’re learning a lot from today’s events that will help us to be even better at getting testing out into the community.”
Local COVID-19 cases
Faribault County: no new cases; 11 total cases
Freeborn County: two new cases (one in their 40s and one in their 60s) ; 84 total cases
Mower County: 12 new cases; 150 total cases
Steele County: two new cases; 140 total cases
Waseca County: no new cases, 24 total cases
Confirmed statewide cases
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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced expanded guidelines for religious services during a Saturday press briefing, allowing houses of worship to... read more