Hundreds of cases of coronavirus have been identified in Minnesota since the first confirmed case was reported in Ramsey County on March 6 by the Minnesota Department of Health. The Star Tribune is tracking COVID-19 cases as announced by MDH. However, because testing remains limited, these figures should not be considered a full count of cases in Minnesota. Health officials say they believe the virus is circulating throughout the state. Some figures reported by MDH may change as it completes investigations of individual cases.
This tracker will be updated as new information becomes available, generally once daily in the late morning and early afternoon, though it may lag behind news reports due to the release of incomplete information. Check startribune.com/coronavirus for the latest news. Sign up for our daily newsletter with the latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota at startribune.com/updates.
Why don’t you display Minnesota confirmed cases by city or zip code?
Minnesota Department of Health is only releasing county-level information about individual cases at this time.
Are COVID-19 tests widely available? Who is being tested?
Due to a nationwide shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies, MDH announced March 17 that the state's public health lab is prioritizing testing for health care workers, child care providers and residents of congregate living facilities, which include senior care and assisted living centers, as well as emergency and homeless shelters. As a result, people experiencing milder symptoms are not being tested. Those with respiratory illnesses should remain isolated for at least seven days after symptoms first appear or for at least three days with no fever and improved respiratory symptoms, whichever is longer, according to MDH guidelines. The state will rely on ongoing influenza surveillance as a proxy for whether the coronavirus is spreading, MDH officials said.
Why don’t you normalize by population by converting the number of confirmed cases in Minnesota counties to a rate?
If testing were widespread and well-distributed around the state, it would make sense to adjust for population by converting the raw number of cases in each county to a rate. However, health officials say they know the number of positive tests is a small fraction of the actual number of COVID-19 cases and they believe the virus is circulating across the state. For rural counties with no confirmed cases, the rate would be zero, and we don't want to imply that there are no cases and no risk in these counties. If testing becomes more widely available in the future, we will consider adjusting for population.
Why are you no longer displaying cases of community transmission?
State health officials have identified cases of community transmission, in which an infection is not tied to travel or to contact with another known case of COVID-19, in at least three dozen counties in Minnesota. Health officials say the statistic is no longer meaningful because they believe the virus is circulating statewide and all counties should be presumed to have instances of community transmission.
Why aren't you displaying "active" cases?
MDH does not attempt to calculate active cases – or COVID-19 patients who have not yet recovered or died – due to the lack of widespread testing, as the figures the department releases only represent those who were tested. A chart that included active cases was removed from this tracker because the calculation was incorrect.
Why isn’t a case I heard about on the Minnesota map?
This page is updated daily as new information is released by MDH. In some instances, local news organizations have received information about new confirmed cases from local health officials before they are announced by MDH, which often happens the next day.
Why does Martin County have so many more cases than other rural Minnesota counties?
Official case numbers may be higher in Martin County, in southern Minnesota, because the local hospital is part of the Mayo Clinic system, which has its own testing capabilities. Nine of the county’s confirmed cases were members of a single church congregation.
Where can I find information about neighboring states?
Journalism that matters.
Data sources: For Minnesota data, the Minnesota Department of Health. For U.S. data, The New York Times and the COVID Tracking Project. For international data, Johns Hopkins University. U.S. and international data updates may lag behind local updates by hours, up to a day, depending on when external organizations update.