MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health officials reported 609 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and five more deaths.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 1,495 people have died in the state since the start of the outbreak. The majority have been residents in long-term care.

Minnesota’s current tally of COVID-19 cases is at 40,767. More than 35,000 of those patients have recovered and no longer require isolation.

Meanwhile, 227 people are in Minnesota hospitals battling the disease, with 124 people in intensive care — an increase of eight in the last 24 hours.

In general, however, hospitalizations have been trending downward since early last month.

Heading into the weekend, Gov. Tim Walz is mulling whether or not to mandate that face masks be worn in public spaces across Minnesota. A number of Minnesota cities, such as Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Edina, have already implemented such mandates.

Walz is expected to make a decision on the statewide mask mandate in the “very near future.”

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