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Daily COVID-19 update: 423 new cases statewide; area counties see new cases

By Minnesota Public Radio News and Albert Lea Tribune

Minnesota health officials reported 423 new cases of COVID-19 Friday, following a trend of increasing positive case numbers in the state. But trends in daily deaths from the disease still suggest a hopeful, downward trend.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s daily COVID-19 data release, eight more people have died of the disease in the state, continuing a trend since mid-June of daily death numbers in the teens or single digits.

The count of people currently hospitalized has gone down slightly to 270, but the number needing intensive care rose slightly to 132. Despite the jump in cases reported this week, overall hospitalizations have trended downward over the past few weeks.

Minnesota now has confirmed 37,624 positive tests for the disease during the outbreak. About 86 percent of those testing positive have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

Among those who’ve died in Minnesota, nearly 80 percent were living in long-term care or assisted living facilities, and nearly all had underlying health problems.

Because of the Fourth of July holiday, the state health department will not release its otherwise-daily COVID-19 update on Saturday.

‘Don’t let your guard down’ this July Fourth

The newest counts come as officials plead with Minnesotans to keep their guard up and follow public health guidelines over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Health officials this week warned that family gatherings and other outings could lead to a spike if people ease back from safety measures.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and others are imploring groups gathering over the Fourth of July to meet outdoors instead of inside and to wear masks and social distance even when outside in order to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

Young adults are a particular concern. Minnesotans in their 20s now make up the largest age group of confirmed cases — nearly 8,000 since the pandemic began. The median age for cases has been dipping and is now just under 39 years old, Malcolm noted earlier this week as she cautioned young adults to not let their guard down.

“Remember that you’re not invincible and neither are your loved ones,” she said.

Gov. Tim Walz is concerned enough about potential outbreaks that he said earlier this week he’s considering a statewide mask order.

Malcolm on Wednesday reiterated that the governor is “very seriously considering” a mask requirement and that she and other state health experts would support that move.

Local updates

Freeborn County reported one new lab-confirmed COVID-19 case, bringing the county’s total cumulative case total to 290.

Of that number, 262 people are out of isolation and four people are currently hospitalized.

The department stated the new case was a person in their 20s.

Mower County had 12 new cases, increasing its total to  945 cases.

Faribault County reported one new case, increasing its total to 55; Steele County had five new cases, pushing its total to 228; and Waseca County had two cases, increasing its total to 64.