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Dec. 16 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths, lower testing and case levels

Minnesota has surpassed 4,500 deaths.

Wednesday's COVID-19 report from the Minnesota Department of Health includes just over 2,200 new cases and 92 deaths, which comes after back-to-back days of far lower totals. 

The 92 newly reported deaths brings the number of fatal COVID-19 cases in Minnesota during the pandemic to 4,575. Long-term care deaths account for 2,982 (65.1%) of the total, including 54 of the 92 reported Wednesday.

The state has reported 982 deaths through the first 16 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. 15, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota is 1,277, down from 1,304 reported on Tuesday. The numbers have dropped since reaching a high mark of 1,840 on Nov. 30. Of those currently hospitalized, 304 patients are in intensive care and 973 are receiving non-ICU treatment.

Here's how many people with COVID-19 were in intensive care by region, through Dec. 15:

  • Metro: 195 (down from 198 the day before)
  • Central: 44 (up from 43)
  • Northeast: 27 (up from 23)
  • Southeast: 24 (no change)
  • Northwest: 6
  • South Central: 6
  • West Central: 0
  • Southwest: 0

Statewide, there were 130 (up from 125 the day before) available staffed ICU beds through Dec. 15. 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 staffed ICU beds available
  • Central: 23
  • Northeast: 12
  • Southeast: 14
  • Northwest: 11
  • South Central: 7
  • West Central: 9
  • Southwest: 6

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

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,279 positive results in Wednesday's update were from a total of 19,644 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 11.6%, which snaps a streak of six consecutive days with a positivity rate under 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 8.66%.

The 19,644 completed tests were from 6,642 people. People are often tested more than once, so the test positivity rate when dividing positives by people tested is 34.3% today.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers

  • Total tests: 4,985,470 (up from 4,965,904)
  • People tested: 2,793,893 (up from 2,787,251)
  • Positive cases: 386,412 (up from 384,164)
  • Deaths: 4,575 – 120 of which are "probable*" (up from 4,483)
  • Active cases: 30,028 (down from 32,344)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 356,384 (up from 351,820)

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