See more of the story

Nine deaths and 629 lab-confirmed infections with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 were reported Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The new cases bring the state totals in the pandemic to 1,629 deaths and 57,779 infections confirmed through diagnostic testing. The state reported that 305 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized on Wednesday, following a one-day surge on Tuesday that had temporarily pushed that total up to 328.

Among patients in hospital care, 152 needed intensive care for breathing problems or other complications from the infectious disease.

All of the deaths involved people 50 and older. Five involved people in private residences and four involved people who lived in long-term care and assisted-living facilities. Among all COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota, 76% have involved residents of such facilities who are at greater risk due to their age and underlying health problems.

Lab-confirmed infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been increasing in Minnesota — with the COVID Exit Strategy website reporting that the average daily count in the state has increased by 16% to 697 confirmed infections per day.

State health officials remain concerned that the rise in confirmed cases could produce a resulting increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

The increase in infections this summer started in teenagers and in young adults — with some outbreaks being tied to the limited reopening of indoor bars and restaurants on June 10 — but health officials are seeing further spread into older populations and fear that the virus could be reintroduced into more long-term care facilities.

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744