Ten more people have died of COVID-19 in Minnesota, health officials reported Saturday, as the count for positive test results grew by a record 840 confirmed cases statewide.
The pandemic has caused a total of 852 deaths across the state thus far, according to data posted Saturday morning by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The state is reporting its first case in Hubbard County. Overall, 84 of Minnesota’s 87 counties now have known cases, with none confirmed in Cook, Lake of the Woods and Stevens counties.
A total of 568 people require hospitalization, compared with 534 on Friday, the Health Department said. There were 215 patients in the ICU, compared with 233 in intensive care on Friday.
Concerns have been growing in recent days about intensive care capacity in the Twin Cities.
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 2,534 people have been hospitalized, up from 2,432 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.
Residents of long-term care accounted for 8 of the 10 newly announced deaths. Among the new deaths were residents of Anoka and Cass counties age 50 to 59 — a cohort that has seen only 42 deaths thus far in the pandemic, the Health Department says. Most deaths have been in people age 70 and older.
Numbers released Saturday show Minnesota’s confirmed case count of 19,845 grew from Friday’s tally of 19,005 cases. As of Saturday, health care workers account for 2,287 cases statewide.
A total of 13,485 Minnesotans who were infected with the novel coronavirus no longer need to be in isolation, up from 12,696 people at Friday’s data release.
The state completed about 8,500 tests during the most recent 24-hour period for data collection. Two weeks 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.
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 217 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.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744