Labor Day lull in COVID-19 testing, new cases in Minnesota

Minnesota’s first COVID-19 situation update after Labor Day shows a low number of tests completed and a low number of new cases, likely due to low reporting on the holiday.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 387 more cases from 7,120 more tests – a positivity rate of 5.4%. The 7-day positivity rate in Minnesota was 7.7% as of Labor Day. Anything over 5% is a concern for MDH, as its suggests a higher rate of community transmission.

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Minnesota reported two more deaths with COVID-19 a factor – one person in their 40s from Ramsey County and one in their 70s from Hennepin County. Both had been living in private residences, not long-term care facilities which have accounted for 73% of the state's deaths. Minnesota has recorded 1,862 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

There are 257 people hospitalized with COVID-19, which is down 18 patients and there is one fewer patient in intensive care, with 125 people in the ICU.

The next few weeks of data should reveal what impact Labor Day gatherings and travel had on Minnesota’s COVID-19 infection rate, as well as the return to school in some areas.

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Heading into the holiday weekend, Gov. Tim Walz warned Minnesota could be nearing a tipping point in the pandemic. State health officials said the state was at a more precarious position heading into Labor Day weekend than it was heading into the Fourth of July weekend.

Health 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, recent outbreaks have been traced back to personal gatherings, parties or weddings. She said COVID-19 spread in Minnesota is not coming from grocery stores, gas stations and retailers where mask usage is enforced.

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