By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday marked the fourth-straight day of Minnesota health officials reporting record daily COVID-19 cases, as another 5,454 new infections were added to the state’s tally. The state has also breached a grim record for daily COVID-19 deaths, with 36 reported in the last 24 hours.

Over the last few weeks, Minnesota health officials have documented a surge in coronavirus cases. In just the last four days, more than 16,000 new infections were counted in the state. Health officials and Gov. Tim Walz are encouraging Minnesotans to be vigilant, to continue to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

RELATED: With COVID Cases Soaring, Will State Officials Dial Back Again?

As daily case numbers are at record levels, so are hospitalizations. According to state data, more than 1,000 people were battling the virus in Minnesota hospitals as of Thursday. Thirty percent of those patients are in intensive care beds. On the bright side, hospitals are better able to treat COVID-19 patients now than they were at the start of the pandemic.

In the last 24 hours, health officials say 45,769 tests were processed for Minnesotans, setting yet another daily record. Testing is one way health officials are tracking the spread of the disease. On Thursday, they noted that it’s often spreading via young people going out to bars and restaurants, small gatherings and events like weddings.

According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, Minnesota’s positivity rate is at 10% as of Oct. 28, doubling what it was at the start of October. If the positivity rate continues to climb, state officials say they might reinstate COVID-19 restrictions. What those would be is yet unknown.

The state’s COVID-19 death toll is currently at 2,591, with the vast majority of victims being patients in long-term care. Since the start of the outbreak in March, Minnesota has counted 170,307 COVID-19 infections. Of those, nearly 140,000 have recovered and no longer need to self-isolate.

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The health department says Minnesotans have to make changes because COVID is putting major stress on the healthcare system.

With long lines for COVID-19 tests piling up here at North Memorial Medical Center Friday. Minnesota’s case count skyrocketed to more than 5,400 cases. Shattering Thursday’s record of nearly 4000 cases. Health leaders say community spread of the virus is out of control.

“You have got to make changes. Your choices are impacting the capacity of our healthcare systems to serve you and the other people that need it,” said MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann.

“It has been a tough week. As of today, one in five ICU patients in Minnesota hospitals have COVID,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, president of the Minnesota Hospital Association.

Koranne says many healthcare workers are contracting COVID-19 not from patients or hospitals but from the community. And when they bring it in to hospitals or nursing homes, it can run rampant.

“They are getting COVID, their kids are getting COVID, and that is a direct result of all of us as Minnesotans not doing what we’re supposed to do,” said Koranne.

Right now, the MDH says more than a thousand of the state’s roughly 1,300 ICU beds are full. (1,036 of the states 1,306 ICU beds are full.) And health providers are taking action to make room.

MDH hospitalization data (credit: MDH)

Health Partners says it’s rescheduling elective procedures and surgeries and transferring care to other locations across its system to meet patient needs

“Hospitals across the state have opened up new units have pushed out procedures that can be safely pushed out,” said Koranne.

While hospitals will make changes, leaders and healthcare providers hope you will too to slow the spread and save lives.

The City of Minneapolis is offering free COVID-19 tests and flu shots at Hennepin United Methodist Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Bring your insurance card if you have it, but you don’t need one to get tested.

INFO:
Free COVID-19 tests and flu shots at Hennepin United Methodist, 511 Groveland Ave.
Noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7

Erin Hassanzadeh

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