Minnesota health authorities reported another 14 deaths and 214 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, even as restrictions were eased on a select group of manufacturing and warehouse businesses that were allowed to reopen.
The state has reported at least 100 new cases in 12 of the last 13 days. Health officials expected the number of cases to rise over the last week in lockstep with an increase in testing in Minnesota for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But the rise in cases and deaths also reflects the actual spread of COVID-19, which might not peak in Minnesota for weeks.
Twelve of the 14 newly reported deaths involved residents of long-term care facilities. Despite the disclosure Sunday of a COVID-19 victim who was 44, the median age of death rose to 86 on Monday.
Among all COVID-19 cases, 292 were hospitalized, with 122 needing intensive care, the Minnesota Department of Health reported. The total number of COVID-19 diagnostic tests conducted in Minnesota is 61,268. More than 2,000 tests have been reported in each of the last four days.
The total number of lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota is 3,816, though health officials have estimated that every one confirmed case might represent another 100 unconfirmed infections. Among confirmed cases, 1,842 people have recovered.
Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce later this week whether he will extend a statewide stay-at-home order, which is slated to end May 4. The order was designed to reduce face-to-face contact and disease transmission by 80%, buying time for hospitals to add more critical care beds, personal protective equipment, and ventilators for COVID-19 patients who suffer severe respiratory symptoms and struggle to breathe.
The governor last week talked more about “dialing” back restrictions, rather than ending them all at once. The businesses allowed to reopen Monday had to complete social distancing plans showing that protections were in place to minimize the chances for workers to infect others.