Daily COVID-19 update: Hospitalizations increase statewide; new cases reported in area counties

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, July 21, 2020

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The state Health Department on Tuesday reported three more deaths from COVID-19 along with a significant rise in the number of people currently hospitalized. Officials also tried to smooth out choppy data reports from the past few days tied to a new reporting system.

Three new COVID-19 deaths were reported in Minnesota on Tuesday. Provided

Tuesday’s data showed a change in pattern form the past few weeks as current hospitalizations (266) jumped, although those needing intensive (112) care dipped slightly from Monday.

The number of people in the hospital but not needing intensive care (154) is the highest in about a month. State officials last week said they had expected to see hospitalizations start to climb again given the leap in new confirmed cases the past few weeks.

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After posting a spike of more than 900 new cases on Monday, Tuesday came in at 352 cases. Officials urged the public to take the average of the two days — 636 cases — as the figure that best represents the actual case load climb for Minnesota over those two days.

Of Minnesota’s 47,457 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, about 87 percent of those infected have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

Among the 1,548 deaths recorded as of Tuesday, about 77 percent were living in long-term care facilities, nearly all had underlying health problems.

CDC to investigate infant’s death

The newest numbers come a day after Minnesota health leaders confirmed a sad milestone — the first death of a child in the state from COVID-19.

The infant, a 9-month-old from Clay County in northwestern Minnesota, is among the youngest deaths in the country from COVID-19 and the first death in Minnesota for anyone under age 20 who tested positive for the virus.

The child did not have an underlying health problem and had not been hospitalized, Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, told reporters. State health leaders have asked the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate.

Ehresmann said while current knowledge of the coronavirus puts children at lower risk, the possibility of infection is still there and officials are hoping to understand more about how the virus can affect children.

“In general, we have seen fewer cases in kids, we’ve seen fewer cases with hospitalizations and fewer cases with the need for intensive care,” she said, “but what we don’t know — and I think this is true for all ages — we don’t really know the underlying long-term impacts of a COVID infection on an individual.”

Cases growing in most age brackets

State health officials continue to worry about the recent spike of coronavirus cases in younger Minnesotans, including that those infected will inadvertently spread the virus to more vulnerable populations.

Minnesotans in their 20s now make up the age group with the most confirmed cases with more than 11,000. The median age of Minnesotans infected has been trending down in recent weeks and is now 37 years old.

Health investigators, however, are starting to see more cases in many age brackets, including ages 30 through 59, as more people get together for family gatherings and summer fun without social distancing, Ehresmann said Monday.

It’s not like the situation the past few weeks where 20-somethings meeting in bars drove the increases. Now, analysts are seeing an evolution in the “larger, gradual increase in social activities,” she added.

While current hospitalization counts in Minnesota remain relatively low, Ehresmann reiterated that officials expect the numbers to go on the march as the new cases climb.

New cases are also rising in northern Minnesota. Cases in Beltrami County have nearly doubled in the past week, from 53 to 101. Ehresmann on Monday said the case increase is tied to spread from athletic events and other public gatherings.

Local cases

The Freeborn County Public Health Department reported two new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, increasing the county’s cumulative count to 329.

The new cases include one person in their 50s and one person in their 60s.

The department stated two more people are out of isolation, bringing the county’s total out of isolation to 318. One person continues to be hospitalized.

The following are the increases in cases in other area counties:

• Faribault County, one new case, 72 total cases

• Mower County, five new cases, 1,019 total cases

• Steele County, four new cases, 290 total cases

• Waseca County, one new case, 95 total cases