Dec. 20 COVID-19 update: December death toll rises by 70

The good news is that the number of active cases continues to drop.
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Seventy deaths have been added to Minnesota's COVID-19 death toll, in addition to more than 2,700 new cases, according to Sunday's report from the state health department. 

December has now seen 1,257 death, making it the deadliest month in Minnesota during the pandemic. There were fewer than 500 deaths in October before November's death toll skyrocketed to 1,136. Since the first death was reported March 21, Minnesota has reported a total of 4,850 fatal cases. 

Long-term care deaths account for 64.9% (3,149) of the total, including 45 of the 70 reported Sunday.

Other than deaths, Minnesota's COVID-19 numbers are mostly declining. For perspective, consider that in mid-November Minnesota was reporting more than 50,000 active cases. There are now just over 27,000 active cases, according to the health department. 

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,705 positive results in Sunday's update were from a total of 65,102 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 4.15%.

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 7.26%.

The 65,102 completed tests were from 22,322 people. People are often tested more than once, so the test positivity rate when dividing positives by people tested is 12.12% today.

Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers

  • Total tests: 5,199,011 (up from 5,133,936)
  • People tested: 2,859,220 (up from 2,836,898)
  • Positive cases: 397,319 (up from 394,635)
  • Deaths: 4,850 – 131 of which are "probable*" (up from 4,780)
  • Active cases: 27,407 (down from 29,015)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 369,912 (up from 365,620)

Hospitalizations

Minnesota doesn't update its hospitalization levels at the weekend.

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).

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.

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