(FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Health reported 681 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases the state has seen to 52,947 and the death toll from the disease to 1,589.
Approximately 88 percent of the state's coronavirus patients have recovered and no longer need to be isolated.
There were 13,481 tests completed in the latest 24-hour period--a positivity rate of approximately 5 percent. More than 993,000 COVID-19 tests have been completed in Minnesota to date. The state now has the capacity to administer more than 20,000 tests per day.
Seven of the nine deaths reported Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities. Residents of long-term care facilities currently account for approximately 7 percent of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases, but around 77 percent of deaths.
Hospitalizations in Minnesota from the coronavirus have hit their highest levels since late June with 310 COVID-19 patients in currently in the hospital, 143 of which are in the ICU. However, both numbers are still roughly half of their peaks in May.
Approximately 10 percent of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases have required hospitalization.
All 87 Minnesota counties have now seen at least one case of COVID-19.
The 20-29 age group accounts for the largest percentage of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota with approximately 24 percent of cases. The 30-39 age group has the second most number of cases with approximately 19 percent of cases.
GOVERNOR WALZ ORDERS STATEWIDE MASK MANDATE
As of July 25, Minnesotans are required to wear a face covering in all public indoor spaces and businesses unless they are alone.
The order requires people to wear a face mask or face covering in all public indoor spaces and indoor businesses, including when waiting outside to enter the space. Workers must wear masks outside when social distancing cannot be maintained.
People do not have to wear a mask at home, in a private vehicle, in a hotel or motel room or other short or long-term housing unit. Masks are also not required to be worn outdoors or when participating in outdoor recreation.
A full list of where you do and do not have to wear a mask in Minnesota can be found here.
MINNESOTA REPORTS FIRST CHILD DEATH FROM COVID-19
On July 20, health officials reported a 9-month-old infant from Clay County had died of COVID-19--the youngest person to die from the disease in the state to date.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said infant's death appears to be an "isolated incident" related to the infant's "very specific" situation. It is the state's first COVID-19 death in someone under 20 and is one of the youngest deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the country.
MDH epidemiologist Kris Ehresmann said the infant had symptoms with what you might expect from COVID-19, including respiratory symptoms and evidence of some inflammation in the upper airways, but they were never hospitalized.
The infant did not have any underlying health conditions, she said.
Ehresmann said they have sent specimens from the infant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will will do additional evaluation of the case.
“We want to make sure that we’re understanding as much as we can about the physiologic changes that occurred with this infant in terms of the progression of their illness as well as we want to make sure any information that’s available on the course of this infant’s illness is added to the broader understanding of infant deaths around the country," Ehresman said.
STAY SAFE MN: PHASE 3
Minnesota has moved into its next phase of reopening, loosening more coronavirus-related restrictions. The third phase of Gov. Tim Walz's Stay Safe MN plan allows restaurants to reopen indoor dining at 50 percent capacity as well as allows gyms, swimming pools and entertainment venues to reopen in limited capacities.
WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR SCHOOLS IN FALL?
Guidance released June 18 by the Minnesota Department of Education and Minnesota Department of Health includes a strong recommendation that school districts and charter schools create three different contingency plans for three possible scenarios for start of the school year this fall.
Officials have not made a decision on which model of educational delivery—in-person, hybrid model or distance learning—they will go with for the 2020-21 school year. They expect to make and announce a decision by the week of July 27. You can read more about the requirements and recommendations for each scenario here.
MDH has two hotlines for questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotline for community mitigation (schools, childcare, business) questions is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.
The hotline for health questions is also open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.
The state has also launched a helpline for people to report incidents of bias or discrimination resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The number to call is 1-833-454-0148. Translation and interpretation services are available.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK
MDH says if you have symptoms of a respiratory disease (such as fever, coughing, muscle aches, sore threat and headache) you should stay home for at least seven days and at least three days with without a fever (without fever-reducing medicine).
If you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, MDH said you do not have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19. Just stay home if you are sick. If your symptoms worsen, if possible, call ahead before going into your health care provider.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some patients have had other symptoms including muscle aches, headache, sore throat or diarrhea.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure
The CDC and MDH recommend Minnesotans do the following to protect themselves and others and limit the spread of COVID-19:
- Stay home and away from others if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Avoid touching your face throughout the day
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. The CDC recommends staying a minimum of 6 feet away.