Minnesota deaths up 17, to 700, in COVID-19 pandemic – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Seventeen more people have died of COVID-19 in Minnesota, health officials reported Saturday, as the count for confirmed cases grew by more than 700 statewide.

The pandemic has caused a total of 700 deaths across the state thus far, according to data posted Saturday morning by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Saturday’s numbers show a significant one-day jump in patients needing ICU care, growing from 200 patients on Friday to 225 intensive care patients reported Saturday morning.

More than 10,200 Minnesotans who were infected with the novel coronavirus no longer need to be in isolation, up from 9,503 people at Friday’s data release. The daily tallies include those who have died, meaning 9,500 people in Minnesota with known COVID cases have lived through isolation periods.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced late last year. Since the first case was reported in Minnesota on March 6, a total of 2,039 people have been hospitalized, up from 1,985 on Friday.

People at greatest risk from COVID-19 include: those age 65 years and older; residents of long-term care facilities; and those with underlying medical conditions. The medical conditions range from lung disease, serious heart conditions and cancer to severe obesity, diabetes and kidney patients who need dialysis.

Numbers released Saturday show the confirmed case count of 14,969 grew from Friday’s tally of 14,240 cases. As of Saturday, health care workers account for 1,765 cases statewide.

The state completed more than 8,600 tests during the most recent 24-hour period for data collection, one of the biggest one-day totals thus far. Just over a week ago, state officials said there was capacity for more than 10,000 tests per day, but just a fraction of the total was being used due to a lack of patients with symptoms seeking tests.

Most patients with COVID-19 don’t need to be hospitalized. The illness usually causes mild or moderate sickness, the Health Department says, and does not require a clinic visit.

Public health officials say the reported case count in Minnesota dramatically understates the number infected and sickened in the state. Limited testing has made it impossible to precisely document the spread, but the volume of tests has been increasing.

A total of 493 people require hospitalization, compared with 498 on Friday, the Health Department said. Residents of long-term care accounted for 14 of the 17 newly announced deaths, and roughly 80% of all deaths in Minnesota throughout the pandemic.

People under the age of 70 account for the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota — 85% of the total — but just 17% of deaths, according to summary data released Saturday.

The state is reporting no new counties with confirmed cases; overall 83 of Minnesota’s 87 counties have known cases. Cases have not been confirmed in Cook, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods and Stevens counties.

The approximate number of tests completed stands at 143,281, a significant increase over Friday’s total of 134,669.

The Health Department added to its list of congregate care facilities publicly identified with at least one COVID-19 case among residents or staff, upping the total to 188 facilities. State officials are releasing names only for facilities with at least 10 residents.

Numbers published Saturday morning cover the 24-hour period ending at 4 p.m. Friday.

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