Minnesota COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations at record high levels

Minnesota health officials reported 2,178 new cases of COVID-19—the third highest daily total so far and the third time in two weeks the state has reported more than 2,000 new cases in a single day.  

The 2,178 newly reported cases were out of 14,834 tests completed in a 24-hour period—a positivity rate of 14.7%, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Health data, although Tuesdays typically have a lower volume of completed tests. It is the highest positivity rate the state has seen since May. 

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Monday the state’s rolling 7-day average positivity rate—the key metric—is 6.5% percent, although it is a lagging indicator.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the rate of positive tests is an important indicator because it indicates whether the community is conducting enough testing to find cases. The World Health Organization has said that states that have conducted extensive testing for COVID-19 should have a positivity rate of 5% or lower for at least 14 days.  

Hospitalizations are also at their highest point since the onset of the pandemic. MDH reported 658 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, 165 of whom are in the ICU. At the start of the month, there were 343 people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to Malcolm. 

The 15 deaths reported Tuesday ranged in age from 50-99 years old, including four people in their 50s. Four of the deaths were in the Twin Cities metro and four were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Minnesota is currently averaging around 17 newly reported deaths per day. 

Minnesota’s COVID-19 cases have increased 39% in the last two weeks, according to the NBC News COVID-19 tracker. Minnesota has now seen a total of 137,536 COVID-19 cases and 2,368 deaths.