By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ahead of last-minute campaign stops Friday in Minnesota by both major presidential candidates, state health officials reported 3,165 new COVID-19 cases, marking the second day in a row where case numbers broke daily records. Additionally, 18 more people have died from the virus.

Health leaders warned this week that Minnesota is nearing the “explosive growth” in infections seen in nearby states as the Midwest has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. On Thursday, Minnesota tallied the previous daily case record with more than 2,800 COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, more Minnesotans are currently hospitalized with the virus than at any other point in the last seven months.

RELATED: With Minnesota Breaking Daily COVID Records, Are Hospitals Ready?

In the last 24 hours, 128 more people were admitted into Minnesota hospitals, with 23 more entering intensive care, according to Minnesota Department of Health data. Since the outbreak began, more than 10,000 people have been hospitalized in the state, and 2,437 people have died, with the majority of victims being residents in long-term care.

Minnesota’s total tally of COVID-19 cases stands at 145,465, with more than 125,000 people no longer required to self-isolate. More than 1.8 million people in Minnesota have been tested for the virus.

Testing is one tool state officials are using to combat this virus. This week, two more free saliva testing sites opened in St. Paul and St. Cloud, bringing the state’s total of such sites to seven. With up to three more free saliva testing sites slated to open in the coming days, the state’s testing capacity could reach as high as 60,000 tests a day.

As the number of cases has climbed this month, so has the state’s positivity rate. According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, Minnesota’s positivity rate is at 7% as of Oct. 21. If the positivity rate continues to climb, health officials may tighten the state’s COVID-19 restrictions.

RELATED: Trump, Biden To Hold Dueling Campaign Events Friday In Minnesota

On Friday, both President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden are scheduled to make campaign stops in Minnesota. Trump will be holding a gathering in Rochester while Biden will be hosting a drive-thru event in St. Paul.

The Trump campaign had planned to hold an evening rally at the Rochester airport. That rally has since been scaled back to an invite-only event with a total of 250 people, in accordance with Minnesota’s coronavirus guidelines.

Prior to arriving in southern Minnesota, the president was also slated to stop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Health officials there on Friday morning reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths.

Comments