By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On the eve of Election Day, health officials in Minnesota reported 2,954 more cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show that the state’s death toll from the virus is now at 2,484. The vast majority of victims have been residents in long-term care. Of the most recent deaths, five were in such facilities.

Minnesota has experienced a record-breaking surge of coronavirus cases in the last week. Both Friday and Saturday saw more than 3,000 new cases added to the state’s tally, which now totals 153,620. Nearly 1.9 million people in Minnesota have been tested for the coronavirus, and over 132,000 people who’ve contracted the pathogen no longer need to self-isolate.

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Hospitalizations have also spiked in the last week, reaching the highest point they’ve been at since the start of the pandemic. As of Sunday, 774 people were in Minnesota hospitals with COVID, with 195 of them in intensive care.

It should be noted that while hospitalizations have risen, doctors now have better ways to treat the virus than they had at the start of the outbreak.

Since Sunday, more than 36,000 tests were processed for Minnesota residents. Testing is one key factor in the state’s effects to combat the virus’ spread. Over the last two weeks, free saliva testing sites have opened across the state. More are expected to open in the coming days and could boost the state’s testing capacity to 60,000 tests a day.

Health officials are also closely monitoring Minnesota’s positivity rate. According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, Minnesota’s positivity rate was at 7% as of Oct. 22. If the positivity rate continues to rise, officials may re-instate COVID-19 restrictions.

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