Thirteen COVID-19 deaths were reported by Minnesota hospital authorities on Thursday along with new data showing rising hospitalizations due to the infectious disease.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday also reported that the state surpassed 100,000 lab-confirmed infections with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In total, the state has now reported 2,049 COVID-19 deaths and 100,200 infections, including 89,980 people who have recovered to the point that they are no longer risks for spreading the virus.
The Health Department’s new method of reporting COVID-19 hospitalizations showed a rising trend of patients newly admitted due to severe illnesses. The latest state data showed that at least 356 people were admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 in the seven-day period ending Sunday. That is the highest seven-day total since June 1.
The Health Department previously reported the total number of Minnesotans hospitalized in any state due to COVID-19, but switched last week to reporting the number of Minnesotans newly admitted to hospitals.
State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said admissions data is better for tracking recent changes in viral activity among Minnesotans. She said the state’s COVID-19 response dashboard provides a separate measure of how many hospital intensive care beds in Minnesota are filled by patients from any state.
The dashboard shows 1,069 of 1,222 immediately available ICU beds in Minnesota hospitals are filled. That is an increase from earlier in the summer, but not unusual for a state hospital system that often runs at 95% capacity of its ICU beds. The dashboard also lists another 936 ICU beds that could be readied if needed.
State health and hospital officials remain concerned that a recent uptick in COVID-19 activity could combine with seasonal influenza to tax health care resources this winter.
The state reported 1,066 newly confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections on Thursday in 75 of Minnesota’s 87 counties. While most infections produce mild or no symptoms, people can carry and spread the virus to others at greater risk due to their advanced age or other health problems.
People 70 and older have suffered more than 80% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths. The 13 deaths reported Thursday included one person in the 50s age range, and 12 people 65 or older. Seven deaths involved residents of long-term care or assisted-living facilities.