Twenty-six more people have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota, state health officials reported Friday, and the statewide count for confirmed cases pushed above the 10,000 mark for the first time.

The statewide toll is 534 deaths, according to data posted Friday morning by the Minnesota Department of Health. Residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities account for 434 deaths, roughly four out of every five across the state.

State officials on Thursday released a new plan to address the increasing deaths in long-term care that includes more testing and even use of the National Guard to help with worker shortages.

A total of 473 people require hospitalization, compared with 435 on Thursday, the Health Department said. There are 198 patients in the ICU, compared with 182 intensive care patients Thursday.

State officials say an expected surge of COVID-19 patients has been delayed in Minnesota by public adherence to rules for people to stay at home and keep their distance. With the delay, hospitals next week expect to start performing more elective surgeries that had been delayed to conserve supplies.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus that surfaced late last year. Since the first case was reported in Minnesota on March 6, a total of 1,549 people have been hospitalized, up from 1,459 on Thursday.

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.

Public health officials say the reported case count in Minnesota dramatically understates the number who’ve been infected and sickened in the state. Limited testing has made it impossible to precisely document the spread, but testing has been increasing.

Numbers released Friday show the confirmed case count of 10,088 grew from Thursday’s tally of 9,365 people. Health care workers account for 1,207 cases out of the statewide total.

There are now 5,697 patients in the state who no longer need to be in isolation, up from 5,308 patients on Thursday. Eighty-four counties have seen confirmed case of COVID-19.

The median age for all cases is 45, and the median age for all those who have died is 83.

The approximate number of tests completed stands at 101,270, up from 97,421 at Thursday’s data release.

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 to 151 facilities. State officials are releasing names only for facilities with at least 10 residents.

White residents account for 35% of the state’s known cases and 67% of deaths. Black Minnesotans account for 17% of confirmed cases and 5% of deaths.

Race is unknown or missing for 33% of cases and 24% of deaths, according to the Health Department.

People age 65 years and older, as well as those living in long-term care facilities and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk from COVID-19. Those conditions range from lung disease, serious heart conditions and cancer to severe obesity, diabetes and kidney patients who need dialysis.


Twitter: @chrissnowbeck