MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials reported on Friday 5,552 new cases of COVID-19 and 46 deaths – the second-highest death count the state has seen in a single day.

Over the last week, COVID-19 case numbers in Minnesota have skyrocketed; since Monday, over 21,000 people have tested positive for the virus. Overall, 207,339 have tested positive for the virus since March.

In response to the rising case numbers, more testing sites have opened across the state, including one at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Eleven more testing sites are opening next week. On Friday, the state reported over 51,000 tests had been processed – another daily record. Of those, 2,326 were antigen tests.

The major source of the spread, according to Minnesota Department of Health, are those in the 18 to 35-year-old age range going out to bars and restaurants. On Tuesday, MDH said that over 70% of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota can be traced back to indoor social gatherings and events like weddings and funerals.

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As a result, more and more Minnesotans are being admitted to hospitals. According to officials, 1,424 people were hospitalized as of Thursday, with 293 of those people in the ICU. In nearby northwestern Wisconsin, Mayo Clinic reported Wednesday that their hospital beds and ICU units were full.

With the additional numbers reported Friday, 2,839 people have now died of the virus in Minnesota. The majority of those deaths have occurred within the elderly population and those living in assisted living facilities.

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Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Center for Disease Control has said that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. MDH is also encouraging all 18 to 35-year-olds to get tested for the virus, especially if they are going to be seeing family in the coming weeks.

Of those who have tested positive for the virus, 161,756 no longer need to self-isolate.

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