Seventeen COVID-19 deaths were reported by Minnesota health authorities on Wednesday — the highest single-day total since June 19.
Minnesota has now reported 1,738 deaths since the pandemic emerged in the state in early March. The addition on Wednesday of 567 newly lab-confirmed infections with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 also raised the state’s case count to 66,618.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 also increased to 321 as of Wednesday, including 152 patients in intensive care due to breathing problems or other complications from their infections.
The one-day jump in deaths and hospitalizations came amid other positive signs that the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic might be cresting.
Minnesota is still falling short on three of five goals for its COVID-19 response, but is showing its first weeklong decline since mid-June in new infections with the novel coronavirus that caused the pandemic, according to an update on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
The rate of new cases per 100,000 people per day dipped from 12 on Aug. 1 to 11 on Aug. 11. The rate had been increasing from a low of six per 100,000 on June 16, but still remains above the state’s target goal of five.
In addition to the new case measure on the dashboard, Minnesota also is missing its targets for its rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, and its rate of infections with unknown community transmission sources — which makes it harder for contact tracing to identify and isolate people at risk for exposure.
The state is meeting its goals for its diagnostic testing rate and the positivity rate for those tests. The goal is for no more than 15% of tests to be positive for the infection. The rate had increased from 3% in mid-June to nearly 6% earlier this month, but is now roughly 4.9%.
Among all known infections, 60,242 have recovered to the point that they are no longer considered infectious or required to isolate themselves.
The majority of infections result in mild or no symptoms, but severe COVID-19 cases and complications are more likely among people who are older or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Eighty percent of the COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota have involved people 70 or older.
The deaths reported Wednesday included eight people in private residences, one person who lived in a group home, and eight residents of long-term care or assisted-living facilities. All but one of the deaths reported Wednesday involved people 70 or older.