Minnesota announced 695 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 23 additional deaths from the global pandemic disease that was first diagnosed in Minnesota 66 days ago.
The state has documented 12,494 cases of the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, including confirmed cases in 1,436 health care workers. Meanwhile, 8,223 people in the state have been released from quarantine, either through improved health or death.
State public health officials are allowing those with confirmed cases who don’t need to be in the hospital to document their symptoms at home for 14 days following their interview with state disease-tracking workers. The specific criteria for self-release from isolation are reiterated in a final survey sent out to the patient, though the earliest release from self-isolation is 10 days from the onset of symptoms.
Minnesota has recorded 614 deaths from COVID-19, including 501 among people who lived in long-term care or assisted-living settings.
The 23 new deaths, registered in state files between 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 p.m. Monday and published on Tuesday morning, was equal to the average number of new fatalities added to the tally each day for the past week.
Of the new deaths reported Tuesday, 18 happened to people in long-term care or assisted-living homes. All of those who died were between the ages of 50 and 99.
Though the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in the state, health officials say it’s still difficult to precisely track the virus’ spread because of a lack of widespread testing for it. But testing efforts are growing in Minnesota.
As of Tuesday, public and private labs have processed more than 120,000 patient specimens from Minnesota, including 15,229 specimens processed in the state-run lab.
Tuesday’s total marked the second time that labs have processed more than 5,000 COVID-19 tests in a day, but the vast majority continue to be done by private labs — just 278 of the 5,053 tests reported Tuesday were performed by the state.
The high-water mark for the number of tests reported as processed in a 24-hour-period in Minnesota came on May 6, when the results of 5,223 tests were published. State officials are working to aggressively expand testing in the state, including getting the word out to those who are symptomatic to contact their health care providers and get tested.