Twenty-three confirmed new deaths and six "probable" deaths are included in Wednesday's COVID-19 update from the Minnesota Department of Health, bringing the death toll in the state during the pandemic to 2,180.
MDH has switched up how it's reporting COVID-19 data without notice, and it coincides with a significant jump in single day deaths, the highest the state has recorded since June 5.
In addition to the total confirmed deaths, MDH is reporting 6 "probable" COVID-19 deaths, which are deaths that follow a patient receiving a positive result after taking an "antigen test," a test that provides rapid results compared to the conventional PCR diagnosis test.
Up until today, the state was reporting that there had been 53 "probable" deaths from COVID-19, but this category is now designated as "non-laboratory-confirmed," owing to the fact that COVID-19 is listed as the suspected cause by doctors who filled out the death certificate, but the patient did not take a COVID-19 test prior to their death.
Minnesota now has a confirmed death toll (2,174) as well as a total death toll (2,180) that includes deaths following a positive rapid antigen test.
Eleven of the 23 newly reported confirmed COVID-19 deaths were residents of long-term care facilities, which account for 1,535 of the fatal cases.
MDH has also changed up how it reports testing, so it now includes the results of rapid antigen tests as well as the conventional PCR tests, which take longer to produce results.
It has backdated this data to Sept. 1, and henceforth the number of tests conducted in Minnesota will be broken out to both PCR and antigen tests. Antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, but the quick turnaround with results are considered an advantage when it comes to containing possible spread of the virus.
Wednesday's update includes 1,214 new cases, 40 of which have been removed for an official count of 1,174 cases. Those positives are the result of 12,370 people tested.
The positive test rate is slightly lower from the perspective when the number of individuals producing positive tests (1,174) is divided by total completed tests (12,718)
However, the "tests completed" number is usually significantly higher than the "people tested" number due to some people getting tested multiple times. It's not clear why the two numbers are so much closer than usual, but it might have something to do with the change in MDH's reporting.
The number of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 is up to 490 (134 in ICU), an increase of nine from Tuesday's report.
Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers:
- Total tests: 2,383,527 (up from 2,355,124)
- People tested: 1,613,231 (up from 1,600,861)
- Positive cases: 115,943 (up from 114,574)
- Deaths: 2,174 confirmed, 2,180 including probable (up from 2,151)
- Hospitalized (cumulative since start of pandemic): figures not updated
- ICU admissions (cumulative): figures not updated.
- Patients no longer requiring isolation: 103,830 (up from 102,624)