Another 19 Minnesotans have died of COVID-19 as 1,169 more residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The death tally is the second highest since mid-June and comes one day after the Minnesota Department of Health reported 29 new deaths.
Altogether, the state has seen 2,199 deaths from the pandemic, with 70% of the deaths among residents of long-term care residents, including 11 deaths announced Thursday.
Since Oct. 8, Minnesota has reported more than 1,000 new cases each day, bringing the total number of known infections to 117,106.
Although some of that is the result of more testing, new case growth on Thursday slightly surpassed the growth in tests.
There were 20,559 new tests reported to the Health Department, an increase of slightly less than the 1% increase in new cases. So far, 2.4 million COVID-19 tests have been performed, with 1.6 million Minnesotans getting tested.
While most new infections are among younger adults, the concern among public health officials has been that they will pass it on to those who are most vulnerable to the new coronavirus.
People with underlying health conditions, including heart and kidney diseases, as well as diabetes and obesity, are more likely to require hospitalization due to COVID-19 complications. They also comprise the majority of deaths due to the virus.
Long-term care facilities have been hot spots for COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began in Minnesota last March.
While cases in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities have ebbed since they reached a peak in May, there have been recent signs of a resurgence in cases and deaths.
Over the past two weeks, the number of facilities that have had outbreaks rose more than 9% to about 925. There were 535 new cases among residents, an increase of about 10%.
But cases among long-term care workers, which includes direct care staff as well as other employees, increased 15%, with 608 new infections reported, according to a report submitted by the Health Department to the Minnesota Legislature last Monday.
Hospitalizations have also been increasing over the past month, but the latest daily count shows a net increase of four new patients, with one of them requiring intensive care.
Of those who have been infected, about 104,547 are considered to no longer be infectious and do not require isolation.
Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192