By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health officials on Wednesday said hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the state are at the highest point since the pandemic began.

Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,916 new COVID-19 cases and 19 more deaths.

According to the MDH, 16 of the additional 19 deaths were people in long-term care or assisted living settings, which have been hard hit during the pandemic.

In total, 2,387 deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been documented so far in the state — 1,669 of those being in long-term care or assisted living.

In hospitals, there are now 643 patients being treated for the virus — 37 more than the prior day.

During a daily briefing Wednesday, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said it’s the highest hospitalizations for COVID-19 the state has seen since the pandemic began.

“It’s 103 more in the hospital just in the last week,” Malcolm said.

Since the pandemic began, more than 9,800 patients have needed treatment for COVID-19 and 2,609 of them needed intensive care units.

Nearly 140,000 COVID-19 cases have been documented in the state, with 123,529 patients no longer needing isolation.

In the last 24 hours, there have been 17,230 COVID-19 tests and 746 antigen tests completed. In total, 1.8 million people in Minnesota have been tested for the virus.

According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, the state’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate is at 7% as of Oct. 19, due to data lag. That compares to 5% at the beginning of the month.

Another measure by which authorities are determining the state’s progress is the number of new cases per 100,000 residents. As of now, the Dial Back Dashboard reports that figure is at 28 per 100,000.

The update comes as midwest states are reporting soaring COVID-19 cases, most notably Wisconsin.

As Halloween and the holiday season approaches, health officials are advising everyone to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

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