MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With the first July 4th of the COVID-19 pandemic just around the corner, Minnesota health officials on Wednesday announced 426 more confirmed cases and four more deaths. Meanwhile, hospitalizations continue to trend downward.
The new cases bring the state’s total positive cases to 36,716. Of that number, 31,947 have recovered and no longer need isolation. Nearly 3,700 health care workers have been infected since the start of the outbreak.
All four of the additional deaths — the lowest daily deaths reported since June 22 — are patients in long-term care facilities, which have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. The state’s death toll now sits at 1,445 with 1,135 being patients in long-term care facilities.
There have also been 37 “probable” COVID-19 deaths. That’s where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate but a positive test was not documented for the person.
So far, over 4,000 people have needed to be hospitalized for the virus in the state, but hospitalizations have been trending down recently — and are now at the lowest levels in two months. Currently, there are 260 in the hospital, with 125 of those patients being in the ICU.
Earlier this week, Gov. Tim Walz announced that the state has hit its “moonshot” testing goal of having the capacity for 20,000 tests per day.
More than 600,000 tests have been completed so far in the state. However, leaders acknowledge that some Minnesotans who want to get a COVID-19 test haven’t been able to get one. MDH officials say they advise health care providers to test asymptomatic patients who may have been exposed.
Still, state health officials said they would not be surprised if cases start going up due to more people going out. Gov. Walz said a statewide mandatory mask policy is not out of the question.
While the COVID-19 situation appears to be holding steady, if not improving in Minnesota, it’s not the same in other states. On Tuesday, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned the pandemic could get much worse.
The U.S. reported more than 40,000 new coronavirus cases Tuesday. If the country doesn’t get a hold of infections, Fauci warned that he “would not be surprised” the nation sees up to 100,000 new cases a day.