Tracking coronavirus in Minnesota
Hundreds of thousands of cases of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have been identified in Minnesota since the first confirmed case was reported March 6 in Ramsey County by the Minnesota Department of Health. The Star Tribune is tracking COVID-19 cases as announced by MDH. However, these figures should not be considered a full count of cases in Minnesota as health officials say they believe the virus is circulating in communities throughout the state. Some figures reported by MDH may change as it completes investigations of individual cases.
This tracker will be updated as new information becomes available, generally once daily in the late morning, though it may lag behind news reports due to the release of incomplete information. Check startribune.com/coronavirus for the latest news. For more information on vaccines, visit our vaccine tracker. Sign up for our daily newsletter with the latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota at startribune.com/updates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the data include rapid antigen tests?
Yes. On Oct. 14, Minnesota Department of Health began reporting positive rapid COVID-19 antigen test results as "probable cases," in addition to "confirmed cases" identified by laboratory testing. "Total cases" in the charts above includes both confirmed and probable cases.
Why did you remove the "Recovered/No longer needing isolation" chart?
In recent weeks, Minnesota Department of Health has repeatedly changed its definition of what is included in the "patients no longer needing isolation" figure it releases each day. Initially, it was understood to include confirmed COVID-19 patients who were no longer required to self-isolate according to MDH guidelines. In early May, MDH announced that the figure also included COVID-19 patients who died, and a data table that displayed these figures over time was removed from its website. Health officials said May 18 that the figure would no longer include deaths and the cumulative total decreased substantially. As a result, we no longer have enough confidence in the reliability of the data in that chart to include it in our tracker. The "patients no longer needing isolation" figure continues to be updated daily on the MDH website.
Why are some confirmed cases later removed?
Minnesota Department of Health began reporting "cases removed" in its daily situation update on May 13, 2020. According to MDH, a previously announced confirmed case may be removed if the case investigation finds a patient who sought care in Minnesota actually resides in another state, or a confirmed case is determined to be a false positive or a duplicate record.
Why are some charts missing data for some days? Why do some charts have unusually large figures on some days?
MDH did not update its situation page with daily data on some federal holidays, including: July 4, Nov. 26 and Dec. 25, 2020; and Jan. 1 and April 4, 2021. In these instances, the situation page is typically updated the next day and figures may be larger than normal because they include more than one day’s worth of data.
Due to a transition in MDH's data management system over the weekend of July 18-19, 2020, MDH reported some cases on July 20 that normally would have been reported July 21.
On March 9, 2021, the Minnesota Department of Health reported a large number of previously unconfirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the discovery that four private labs had not submitted 37,000 test results to the state as required.
Why did some charts change significantly on May 14, 2020?
On May 13, Minnesota Department of Health made several revisions to its COVID-19 data. First, it updated how it reports confirmed cases on its website. Prior to May 13, confirmed cases were listed on the date they were reported to the public, typically the day after lab results were reported to MDH. Now, all confirmed cases are listed on the date when the test sample was taken. We have updated our charts to include cases by sample date in addition to the date reported. In the chart by sample date, this means that counts for previous days may change as new test results come in and counts for recent days may appear low while some test results are still pending.
MDH also changed how it reports completed tests, by listing them on the date laboratories reported them to MDH. For consistency, we are continuing to list completed tests on the date they were reported to the public by MDH. As a result, completed test figures are listed on our chart one day later than what is reported on MDH's website.
What are your data sources?
Our source for Minnesota data remains the Minnesota Department of Health, but since May 21, 2020, our national figures for cases and deaths have been provided by the New York Times.
Why aren't you displaying "active" cases?
MDH does not attempt to calculate active cases – or COVID-19 patients who have not yet recovered or died – as the figures the department releases only represent those who were tested. A chart that included active cases was removed from this tracker because the calculation was incorrect.
Where can I find information about neighboring states?
Correction: Previous versions of this article included charts with incorrect seven-day averages for new cases and hospitalizations by sample date. Additionally, a chart that displayed "active" COVID-19 cases was removed from this tracker because the calculation was incorrect. An early version listed a University of Minnesota Twin Cities student who tested positive for coronavirus as a Hennepin County resident. It is unclear which county the student resided in.