Six additional deaths were reported Tuesday in the Minnesota Department of Health's daily COVID-19 update, bringing the statewide death toll during the pandemic to 1,510.
The deaths included people all at least 60 years of age, with three coming from private residences and three from long-term care settings. The majority of deaths in Minnesota (1,175) have been residents of long-term care or assisted-living facilities.
Five of the 403 positive tests in Tuesday's report have been removed for an official tally of 398. Cases are removed for a variety of reasons, including patients being from another state and false positive test results.
The positive cases are the result of 7,625 tests, creating a daily positive test rate of 5.2%. The positive test rates for each day of reporting over the past nine days are:
- July 6: 7.6%
- July 7: 10.2%
- July 8: 5.9%
- July 9: 4.6%
- July 10: 2.96%
- July 11: 5.00%
- July 12: 5.5%
- July 13: 3.5%
- July 14: 5.2%
The World Health Organization says that a 14-day positive test rate of below 5 percent is the key to keeping businesses open. Minnesota's 7-day rolling average, as of Monday, was 4.74%, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"If you go above 5% it indicates that you may be heading back into a phase of more rapid spread of the disease," said MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers:
- Tests: 777,614 (up from 769,989)
- Confirmed cases: 43,170 (up from 42,772)
- Deaths: 1,510 (up from 1,504)
- Still hospitalized: 236 (down from 247)
- Patients in intensive care: 107 (down from 114)
- Patients no longer requiring isolation: 37,749 (up from 37,199)
The number of patients hospitalize with COVID-19 has remained fairly steady/dropping for a few weeks, though health officials worry that the numbers could increase in the coming weeks as younger people who have contracted the virus potentially spread it to people who are more vulnerable to serious symptoms.
"We are likely going to see increases in our hospitalizations because of the ripple effect of our cases in our younger population," said MDH's Kris Ehresmann. "We will likely see additional illness in other sectors and ages of the population."
There have been 38 patients deemed to have "probably" died from COVID-19, though that total isn't included in the aforementioned death toll. Those cases represent victims who never received a COVID-19 test, but for whom doctors believe within a reasonable degree of certainty that the virus caused their death.