Confirmation on Friday of another 669 COVID-19 cases is keeping Minnesota well above its target threshold for case growth and above the level at which New York imposes travel restrictions.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported the additional cases on Friday along with seven deaths, bringing the death toll in the COVID-19 pandemic to 1,533. All of the deaths reported Friday involved people 60 or older — underscoring how risks increase with age for people infected by the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Among the 24,493 people 39 or younger with known cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, only 13 have died. Among the 4,549 people 70 or older with known cases, 1,236 have died — a rate of 27%. And 30 of 51 known cases of COVID-19 among people 100 or older have resulted in fatalities.
While case growth in COVID-19 has largely been in younger adults and teenagers in Minnesota over the last month, health officials are concerned that these people could spread the virus to others at greater risk due to their age or underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. That pattern has surfaced this summer in other Southern and Western states.
For now at least, hospitalization levels continue to remain at their lowest since mid-April in Minnesota. The state on Friday reported 252 people with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals due to COVID-19 — including 110 who needed intensive care.
Minnesota’s target threshold is no more than 5 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people per day, based on a seven-day average. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard reports a current rate of 9 per 100,000 based on daily case counts through July 7. Daily case counts have only increased in the last 10 days, though, pushing the actual rate above 10.
New York added Minnesota on Monday to its list of 22 states with travel restrictions — using a threshold of states having no more than 10 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day.
Minnesotans traveling to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey are supposed to complete screening forms and quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival, regardless of whether they have COVID-19 symptoms.
The latest case counts suggest Minnesota will remain on that restriction list when New York updates it on Monday.
Daily case growth is one of the measures that Minnesota uses for evaluating its response to the pandemic and whether more or less social distancing and business restrictions are needed. Gov. Tim Walz is still weighing whether Minnesota should join more than 20 states in requiring people to wear cloth masks or face coverings that reduce transmission of the virus.
The state has reported a total of 45,013 cases of COVID-19 that have been confirmed through diagnostic testing, including 38,568 people who have recovered to the point that they are no longer considered infection risks or required to isolate themselves.
Health officials have estimated that 5% to 10% of the population has already been infected by the virus, though — with many people suffering mild or no symptoms and not seeking testing.