(FOX 9) - The Minnesota Department of Health reported 15 more deaths from COVID-19 and 311 newly confirmed cases Sunday, bringing the state's death toll from the disease to 1,298 and the total number of positive cases the state has seen so far to 30,471.
Minnesota moved into its next phase of reopening Wednesday, loosening more coronavirus-related restrictions. The third phase of Gov. Tim Walz's Stay Safe MN plan allows restaurants to reopn indoor dining at 50 percent capacity as well as allows gyms, swimming pools and entertainment venues to reopen in limited capacities.
LONG-TERM CARE DEATHS SURPASS 1,000
Of the Minnesotans who have died from COVID-19, at least 1,030 were residents of long-term care facilities. Residents of long-term care facilities now account for approximately 11 percent of Minnesota's positive COVID-19 cases, but around 80 percent of deaths.
The state is making plans to ease visitor restrictions in long-term care facilities after senior citizens spent the last three months living in isolation, with at least one of them dying in part to loneliness, the FOX 9 Investigators have found.
MDH has begun publicizing more COVID-19 data about health care workers. According to the latest report, 3,164 health care workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. Of those, at least 1,897 were likely exposed on the job.
Approximately 84 percent of patients confirmed to have COVID-19 have now recovered and no longer need to self-isolate.
Officials are also releasing numbers for "probable" COVID-19 deaths in which the virus is listed on the death certificate, but a positive test has not been documented for the person. That number is currently at 31.
SOME HOSPITALS TAP SURGE CAPACITY
There are currently 369 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 186 of them in the ICU--the lowest that number has been since May 9.
Approximately 12 percent of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases have required hospitalization.
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Friday some Twin Cities metro hospitals have tapped their surge capacity to deal with an influx of ICU cases, but it's "encouragingly stable" at most hospitals, including those in Greater Minnesota.
MDH: PEOPLE WHO'VE ATTENDED GEORGE FLOYD RALLIES SHOULD GET TESTED
If you've attended a vigil, rally or protest in the aftermath of George Floyd's death, the Minnesota Department of Health is asking you to get tested for COVID-19.
Health officials worry the mass gatherings over the past week may have allowed for the spread of the virus. The department says the virus spreads quickly and easily in large groups who are together for long periods of time. Malcolm said Minnesota won't know for two to three more weeks if recent unrest and protests caused a spike in cases.
OVER 13,000 TESTS COMPLETED IN 24-HOUR PERIOD
State and private labs reported 13,391 completed tests in from Wednesday to Thursday. Malcolm said Minnesota now has the capacity for 15,000 coronavirus tests per day.
As of June 5, MDH is reporting tests per test instead of per person to account for changes in testing capacity and for individuals who are tested more than once over the course of the pandemic.
Last month, Gov. Tim Walz announced a “moonshot” project with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to boost the state’s testing capacity to 20,000 tests per day.
Health officials say anyone who wants a COVID-19 test, whether they are symptomatic or not, is encouraged to get a test. Find a testing location near you here.
TWO COUNTIES STILL REPORTING NO CONFIRMED CASES
Eighty-five of Minnesota's 87 counties now have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Cook and Lake of the Woods are the only counties that have yet to report a confirmed case, although health officials say the virus is likely circulating in every Minnesota community, whether a county has a confirmed case or not.
MDH confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Minnesota on March 6. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.
The State of Minnesota has a helpline for questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19
The CDC and MDH recommend Minnesotans do the following to protect themselves and their loved ones and limit the spread of COVID-19:
Stay home and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household
Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other people when you do go out
Wash your hands often
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Clean surfaces that you touch often
The CDC is now recommending people wear face masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain such as grocery stores and pharmacies as well as in areas that are seeing significant community transmission of the virus.
In Minneapolis and St. Paul, masks are now required indoors.
Wearing a mask can not only prevent you from getting sick, but also helps people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.