6 more COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota, private gatherings concern health officials

The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported six more deaths from COVID-19 and 502 new positive tests. The latest numbers come as state health officials are blaming private get-togethers for the lack of a decline in cases. 

The most recent deaths include four people in their 60s – two from Hennepin County and one each from Scott and Stevens counties. Also one person in their 70s from Murray County and one person in their 90s from Dakota County.

Just one of the six latest deaths was reported in a long-term care facility. To date, 1,340 of the state’s 1,823 deaths have been in assisted living or long-term care, with underlying health conditions a factor in nearly all of the deaths.

The 502 latest positive tests bring the state’s total to 76,355 since the pandemic began. Roughly 90 percent of those who have been infected with COVID-19 in Minnesota have since recovered.

The number of hospitalizations and ICU hospitalizations remain relatively flat. There are currently 294 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota and 136 in intensive care.

The state has around 6,000 active, confirmed cases of COVID-19, which is at its highest recorded point.

Minnesotans in their 20s account for the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

Monday, Minnesota Health Department Commissioner Jan Malcolm pointed to personal and private get-togethers as one of the main culprits for the continued spread of the virus.

“There isn’t a different set of rules for personal or private gatherings,” Malcolm said.

According to state infectious disease expert Kris Ehresmann, 13 new outbreaks have been traced back to personal gatherings or parties. She said COVID-19 spread in Minnesota is not coming from grocery stores, gas stations and retailers where mask usage is enforced.