By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health officials reported Sunday another 7,559 new cases of COVID-19, marking the the third time this week that new infections breached the 7,000-case benchmark. Additionally, 31 more people with the virus have died.

These numbers cap off yet another record-breaking week in Minnesota, as both Thursday and Saturday set daily records for new cases. Over just the last four days, nearly 30,000 Minnesotans have tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations also have been a record levels over the last week. As of Thursday, more than 1,400 people with COVID-19 were in Minnesota hospitals, with nearly 300 patients in intensive care beds.

In the last 24 hours, more than 63,000 tests have been processed for Minnesotans, setting yet another daily record.

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Over the last two months, the state has invested heavily in testing, opening free testing sites across Minnesota. Next week, 11 more sites will open, mostly at Minnesota National Guard armories. Additionally, the state’s mail-in testing program is now available statewide.

Health officials are encouraging people to get tested, particularly young people between the ages of 18 and 35. Officials say this demographic is contributing to the spread of the virus and should get tested regardless of showing symptoms, especially if they plan to visit family during the holidays.

In order to curb the spread, Gov. Tim Walz implemented restrictions this week that order bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. Additionally, social gatherings whether inside or outside must now be limited to 10 people.

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Since the start of the pandemic in March, Minnesota has tallied 223,581 cases of the coronavirus. Of those, more than 172,000 have recovered and no longer need to self-isolate.

Minnesota’s COVID-19 death toll currently stands at 2,905. The majority of victims have been people in long-term care. Of the most recent fatalities, 18 of the victims were in such facilities.

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