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Dec. 15 COVID-19 update: 21 deaths, just over 2,300 new cases in Minnesota

The case levels continue to decline in December.

Tuesday's COVID-19 report from the Minnesota Department of Health includes just over 2,300 new cases and 21 deaths. 

The 21 newly reported deaths brings the number of fatal COVID-19 cases in Minnesota during the pandemic to 4,483. Long-term care deaths account for 2,928 (65.3%) of the total, including 11 of the 21 reported Tuesday.

The state has reported 890 deaths through the first 15 days of December after reporting 1,140 fatal cases in November, which was far and away the deadliest month in Minnesota so far.


Through Dec. 14, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota is 1,309, up from 1,284 on Monday. The numbers have mostly dropping since reaching a high mark of 1,848 on Nov. 30. Of those currently hospitalized, 300 patients are in intensive care and 1,009 are receiving non-ICU treatment.

Here's how many people with COVID-19 were in intensive care by region, through Dec. 14:

  • Metro: 198
  • Central: 43
  • Northeast: 23
  • Southeast: 24
  • Northwest: 6
  • South Central: 6
  • West Central: 0
  • Southwest: 0

Statewide, there were 125 available staffed ICU beds through Dec. 14. These numbers are directly impacted by both the number of patients in ICU (for all health reasons, not just COVID-19) and the number of available staff. You can see the breakdown by region right here/below.

  • Metro: 48
  • Central: 21
  • Northeast: 9
  • Southeast: 14
  • Northwest: 9
  • South Central: 9
  • West Central: 9
  • Southwest: 6

Note: Hospital totals are preliminary and are subject to adjustment in the days ahead.

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,340 positive results in Tuesday's update were from a total of 32,117 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 7.28%, the sixth consecutive day that the rate is below 10%.

The World Health Organization recommended in May that a percent positive rate (total positives divided by total completed tests) of below 5% for at least two weeks is necessary to safely reopen the economy. That 5% threshold is based on total positives divided by total tests.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's percent positive over the past seven days is 9.11%.

The 32,117 completed tests were from 12,321 people. People are often tested more than once, so the test positivity rate when dividing positives by people tested is 19% today.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers

  • Total tests: 4,965,904 (up from 4,933,794)
  • People tested: 2,787,251 (up from 2,774,930)
  • Positive cases: 384,164 (up from 381,841)
  • Deaths: 4,483 – 114 of which are "probable*" (up from 4,462)
  • Active cases: 32,344 (down from 34,764)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 351,820 (up from 347,077)

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