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Mayo Clinic helps Minnesota erase coronavirus test backlog

MINNEAPOLIS — The state of Minnesota has eliminated its backlog of coronavirus tests that were waiting to be processed, thanks in part to help from the Mayo Clinic, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health said.

State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said the Mayo Clinic stepped in to help process tests, and the state should now be able to get back to patients with their results much faster. The priority will be to notify patients who test positive for the new virus first, the Star Tribune reported.

“We believe that we can now keep pace with the volume of priority-population testing,” she said. “We thank Mayo for their assistance.”

Minnesota’s number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus rose to 169 on Sunday, up 32 from a day earlier. One person has died from COVID-19. Officials say the total number of people with the virus is likely much larger, since the state’s public health lab has tested only 4,680 people.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover within weeks.