MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the fight against COVID-19 pushes forward, new data suggests Minnesota is moving backwards.

Wednesday’s newly-reported deaths reached a level the state hasn’t seen in five months.

There were 35 COVID-related deaths, matching a daily death toll set back in May, when our state was under a stay-at-home order.

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Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says things are getting worse because too many have COVID fatigue, saying they’re tired of hearing about this deadly virus.

“We’ve been really trying to drive home the same basic messages for a long time now, and it does seem to us that people might be tuning out some of the messaging,” Malcolm said.

She says our biggest concern is Minnesota’s next-door neighbor.

“In Wisconsin, we hear reports of the hospitals close to overflowing, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force says that Wisconsin is now the fourth worst state in the nation for the rate of new infections,” Malcolm said.

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In Wisconsin’s Madison and Dane counties, public health officials say they have so many positive cases that they’re asking the public to do their own contact tracing.

It is a crisis practice that’s also being done by Minnesota’s other neighbor, North Dakota.

“Now we’re not at those levels here in Minnesota, but the numbers we’re seeing say that we could be on the road to that very same kind of trouble,” Malcolm said.

She says Minnesotans need to change their behaviors, instead of accepting our daily case numbers and deaths as a “new normal.”

“The decision to not stay home when you’re ill, to not get tested, to go to a gathering, not wear a mask isn’t just about you. It’s about the entire state and the next few months we’re going to have,” she said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health made another plea Wednesday to end the spread of COVID-19, asking the public to scrap Thanksgiving plans and limit holiday dinner to be with just those who live in the same home.

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Marielle Mohs

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