Minnesota is now falling short on three of five goals self-imposed by state health authorities to evaluate their progress amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which as of Wednesday had caused 43,742 cases and 1,518 deaths.
The latest COVID-19 totals included the addition by the Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday of another 578 lab-confirmed cases of the infectious disease and eight deaths.
Updated information on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed that Minnesota has a rate of 8 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people per day — above the state’s target goal of 5 cases per 100,000. The rate on the public website is based only on cases through July 6 and doesn’t include a surge in cases last weekend that pushed Minnesota’s case rate above 10 per 100,000 and landed the state on New York’s travel restriction list.
Minnesotans are expected to complete online screenings when traveling to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey and voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days upon arrival.
Minnesota also is now missing its self-imposed target of no more than 30% of cases of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus, to come from unknown community sources. The rate of such mystery cases had been below that target all through June — with state contact tracers able to link infections to patrons at bars and outbreaks at worksites — but has risen to 32%.
Knowing the sources of infections allows state contact tracers to identify hot spots of COVID-19 and to warn people who might be at risk for exposure to the virus.
The state also is slightly above its goal for the rate of new hospitalizations for COVID-19, even though the number of people hospitalized for the infectious disease remains well below peak numbers in May. The state on Wednesday reported that 254 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 and that 106 needed intensive care. The state had reported 606 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on May 28.
The state is well above its goal for its rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing per 100,000 residents, although that rate declined in early July amid a national rise in COVID-19 cases that stretched testing resources and supplies.
Only about 5% of diagnostic tests over the last week have found the coronavirus, which is better than the state threshold of 15%. A rate above that would suggest a rising spread of the virus in the state.
Recent increases in daily COVID-19 case counts have been fueled by young adults and teenagers — who now make up 35% of the state’s total cases but only two of the total deaths. Cases have more than doubled since June 1 among Minnesotans 29 and younger.
State health officials are concerned that Minnesota might follow the recent pattern of other states — with healthy young adults and teenagers passing the infection to people at higher risk due to their age and other health problems.
People 70 and older make up only 10% of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, but 81% of the deaths.
Five of the eight deaths reported on Wednesday involved people living in long-term care or assisted-living facilities, bringing the death toll in that population to 1,180 people. One death reported Wednesday involved someone 49 or younger.
Among all cases, 38,179 have recovered to the point that they are no longer considered infection risks — though some have lingering breathing or other consequences from their infections.
Given the number of infections that result in mild or no symptoms, federal officials believe that there have been 10 unknown infections for every one diagnosed COVID-19 case in the U.S.