MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — A federal COVID-19 response team provided Minnesota health officials with recommendations for improvements Friday in the state’s pandemic response following a recent rise in cases statewide.

The COVID-19 Response Assistance Field Team was sent to Minnesota by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. It arrived earlier this week hoping to slow a rise in new cases.

The response team briefed state health officials on their findings in an early morning Friday briefing before flying back, according to a Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson. The state didn’t immediately release the recommendations.

The visit from federal officials is the second since U.S. Centers for Disease Control experts came to Minnesota to assess the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities.

White House COVID-19 task force leader Deborah Birx identified Minneapolis as one of 11 cities with a surge in coronavirus cases that need aggressive action. The city’s positive infection rate is higher than the state overall, which city health officials said is due to young people frequenting bars, essential workers infected while working and larger households in smaller homes.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 773 new cases Friday, continuing a trend in increasing cases in recent weeks. State health officials reported five deaths, relatively much lower than a peak of 35 single-day deaths reported in late May, though hospitalizations have been on the rise this month.

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