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Dec. 17 COVID-19 update: 82 deaths as December toll nears November record

December is likely to the deadliest month of the pandemic for Minnesota so far.

Thursday's COVID-19 report from the Minnesota Department of Health includes just over 2,700 new cases and 83 deaths, including one person in their 20s from Hennepin County. 

The 83 newly reported deaths brings the number of fatal COVID-19 cases in Minnesota during the pandemic to 4,658. Long-term care deaths account for 3,034 (65%) of the total, including 52 of the 83 reported Thursday.

The state has reported 1,065 deaths through the first 17 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. 16, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota is 1,222. The numbers have dropped since reaching a high mark of 1,840 on Nov. 30. Of those currently hospitalized, 289 patients are in intensive care and 933 are receiving non-ICU treatment.

Here's how many people with COVID-19 were in intensive care by region, through Dec. 16:

  • Metro: 193 (down from 195 the day before)
  • Central: 37 (down from 44)
  • Northeast: 25 (down from 27)
  • Southeast: 21 (down from 24)
  • Northwest: 6 (down from 8)
  • South Central: 5 (no change)
  • West Central: 1 (up from 0)
  • Southwest: 1 (no change)

Statewide, there were 128 (down from 130 the day before) available staffed ICU beds through Dec. 16. 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: 45 staffed ICU beds available
  • Central: 19
  • Northeast: 11
  • Southeast: 19
  • Northwest: 15
  • South Central: 2
  • West Central: 10
  • Southwest: 7

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

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,775 positive results in Thursday's update were from a total of 47,704 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 5.82%. 

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 8.40%.

The 47,704 completed tests were from 14,637 people. People are often tested more than once, so the test positivity rate when dividing positives by people tested is 18.95% today.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers

  • Total tests: 5,033,129 (up from 4,985,470)
  • People tested: 2,808,530 (up from 2,793,893)
  • Positive cases: 389,171 (up from 386,412)
  • Deaths: 4,658 – 124 of which are "probable*" (up from 4,575)
  • Active cases: 30,504 (up from 30,028)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 358,667 (up from 356,384)

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