Ten more people have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota, state officials said Saturday, as the continued growth in confirmed infections included a tripling of cases in Nobles County, site of an outbreak at a pork processing plant in Worthington.
The statewide toll is now 121 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic, according to data posted Saturday morning by the Minnesota Department of Health.
The number of known COVID-19 cases increased from 2,071 to 2,213. The tally in Nobles County, in the southwestern corner of the state, jumped from 12 on Friday to 36 on Saturday.
Union officials reported infections among workers at the JBS plant in Worthington on Friday, the latest example of the widespread correlation between meatpacking plants and coronavirus hot spots.
For the fourth consecutive day, the confirmed case count in Minnesota on Saturday grew by more than 100, according to the Health Department.
A total of 239 people currently require hospitalization, compared with 223 on Friday, the Health Department says. There are now 111 patients in the ICU, compared with 106 intensive care patients Friday.
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced in China late last year.
Since the first coronavirus case was reported in Minnesota on March 6, a total of 561 people have been hospitalized, up from 518 on Friday.
Most patients with COVID-19 don’t need to be hospitalized. The illness usually causes mild or moderate sickness, the Health Department says, and does not require a clinic visit.
The reported case count dramatically understates the number of Minnesotans who’ve been infected and sickened, the Health Department says. The virus is thought to be circulating across much of the state, but limited testing supplies make it impossible to precisely document the spread.
Numbers released Friday show there are now 1,118 patients in the state who no longer need to be in isolation, up from 1,066 patients on Friday. The approximate number of tests completed stands at 44,368, up from 43,053 at Friday’s data release.
There are now 74 counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases, with Kittson joining the list Saturday. Hennepin remains the county with the most known cases (875) and deaths (60); Saturday’s report listed 69 new confirmed cases and eight new deaths in the state’s most populous county.
The median age for all cases is 54, and the median age for all those who have died is 84.
The Health Department said the age ranges held steady in three categories: all cases (four weeks to 104 years); hospitalized cases (four weeks to 102 years); and deaths (ages 56 to 100).
A 20-year-old is now in the ICU, which lowers the age range for intensive care patients to between 20 and 95 years.
The Health Department said the likely exposure for 27% of the state’s known cases is community transmission. Congregate living staff or residents account for 26% of confirmed cases, while health care staffers represent 13% of known cases.
Earlier this month, Gov. Tim Walz extended a “stay-at-home” order that’s meant to slow the spread of the disease to reserve scarce health care resources. Protesters gathered outside the Governor’s Residence in St. Paul on Friday calling for changes to the order to help revive the state’s ailing economy, but Walz said restrictions will be lifted only gradually.
On Friday, he ordered the opening of golf courses, shooting ranges and other outdoor activities.
The Health Department added to its list of congregate care facilities being identified with at least one COVID-19 case among a resident or staff, upping the total from 79 to 82 facilities. State officials are releasing names only for facilities with at least 10 residents.
White residents account for 63% of the state’s known cases and 73% of deaths. Black Minnesotans account for 12% of confirmed cases and 3% of deaths.