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Dec. 18 COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations reach lowest levels since early November

It's been more than a month since hospitalizations were at this level.
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Friday's COVID-19 report from the Minnesota Department of Health includes just over 2,700 new cases and 65 deaths, including three people from Hennepin County in their late 40s. 

The 65 newly reported deaths brings the number of fatal COVID-19 cases in Minnesota during the pandemic to 4,723. Long-term care deaths account for 3,070 (65%) of the total, including 35 of the 65 reported Friday.

The state has reported 1,130 deaths through the first 18 days of December after reporting 1,140 fatal cases in November, which was far and away the deadliest month in Minnesota so far. December will likely set the new monthly high on Saturday. 

Hospitalizations

Through Dec. 17, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota is 1,144. The numbers have dropped since reaching a high mark of 1,840 on Nov. 30. 

Of those currently hospitalized, 270 patients are in intensive care and 874 are receiving non-ICU treatment. It's the fewest COVID-19 patients in ICU since Nov. 9 (249) and the fewest non-ICU patients since Nov. 6 (857). 

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Here's how many people with COVID-19 were in intensive care by region, through Dec. 17:

  • Metro: 177 (down from 193 the day before)
  • Central: 34 (down from 37)
  • Northeast: 27 (up from 25)
  • Southeast: 20 (down from 21)
  • Northwest: 6 (no change)
  • South Central: 6 (up from 5)
  • West Central: 0 (down from 1)
  • Southwest: 0 (down from 1)

Statewide, there were 134 (up from 128 the day before) available staffed ICU beds through Dec. 17. 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: 44 staffed ICU beds available
  • Central: 22
  • Northeast: 11
  • Southeast: 21
  • Northwest: 15
  • South Central: 4
  • West Central: 12
  • Southwest: 5

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

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,737 positive results in Friday's update were from a total of 63,994 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 4.27%.

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 8.02%.

The 63,994 completed tests were from 17,926 people. People are often tested more than once, so the test positivity rate when dividing positives by people tested is 15.27% today.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers

  • Total tests: 5,096,768 (up from 5,033,129)
  • People tested: 2,826,456 (up from 2,808,530)
  • Positive cases: 391,889 (up from 389,171)
  • Deaths: 4,723 – 129 of which are "probable*" (up from 4,658)
  • Active cases: 31,021 (up from 30,504)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 360,868 (up from 358,667)

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