MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesotans headed to the polls on Tuesday, Minnesota health officials reported 3,483 new coronavirus cases and 15 more deaths. The last week has seen record-breaking positive daily totals hovering in the 2,000 to 3,000 range.

According to Minnesota Department of Health, more than 12,000 tests were processed in the last 24 hours, including antigen tests.

According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, Minnesota’s seven-day positivity rate has risen to 9% as of Oct. 25, up 2% in the span of a week. If the daily average positivity rate climbs more than %5 in the span of 14 days, that would be considered a benchmark by which state authorities would consider reinstating more restrictions.

Late Tuesday morning, Gov. Tim Walz urged Minnesotans to continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and get tested.

“The virus takes no days off,” he said, in a statement. “While many are focused today on the election, COVID-19 is continuing its merciless spread across our state. I’ve said from the beginning the virus’ spread will dictate our course and we are well into a dark chapter in the story of this pandemic.”

So far, 2,499 people have died because of the virus. The vast majority of the deaths — 1,741 — have occurred in long-term care facilities.

MORE: MDH’s COVID-19 Situation Update

A total of 157,096 cases have been confirmed in the state since March. Of those, 134,227 people no longer need to self-isolate. More than 1,600 people have needed treatment in Minnesota hospitals. Health officials are urging people to avoid all gatherings, large and small.

Saliva testing sites have opened in a number of cities, with more planned throughout Minnesota. Free community testing sites are also open throughout the state.

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