Updated 11:42 a.m
Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers continue to send a mix of hopeful and concerning signals — the trend lines that defined August were present again on the last day of the month.
Monday’s data showed just one additional death. New cases, however, continued to climb, with 679 more confirmed. Over the past week, Minnesota’s seen its number of active, confirmed cases reach a record high.
State public health leaders are expected to brief reporters at 2 p.m.
The count of people currently hospitalized (306) dipped from Sunday yet remained stubbornly consistent all through August at around 300 patients daily. The count of those needing intensive care (131) fell to its lowest level in more than a month.
The surge in cases hasn’t translated yet to an increase in hospitalizations. It’s been largely driven by 20-somethings, who are less likely to have cases severe enough to require hospitalization.
Officials, though, have warned for weeks that the waves of news cases will eventually push the hospitalization numbers higher.
Of the 75,864 confirmed cases of the disease in the pandemic, about 89 percent of those identified have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.
Among the 1,817 who’ve died, about 74 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; nearly all had underlying health problems.
Suburbs, southern MN drive new cases
Regionally, the Twin Cities and its suburbs had been driving the counts of newly reported cases. Monday’s data, however, show new cases exploding everywhere except Hennepin and Ramsey counties.
Northern Minnesota cases are on the rise since early July. Beltrami County, home to Bemidji, has seen a steady climb the past few weeks. The county reported 321 cases and one death as of Monday.
Meatpacking operations had been hot spots for big outbreaks in southwest, west-central and central Minnesota earlier in the pandemic.
New cases had slowed considerably, although the problem has resurfaced recently in McLeod County (362 cases), where more than 20 employees at a Seneca Foods plant in Glencoe were identified recently in an outbreak.
Le Sueur and Waseca counties are also seeing big, recent case increases. Le Sueur showed 378 cases and two deaths as of Monday.
College concerns grow as fall semester nears
Worries continue about the growth of COVID-19 among younger Minnesotans, including that those infected will inadvertently spread the virus to grandparents and other more vulnerable people.
People in their 20s remain the age group with the highest number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in the pandemic — more than 17,500.
State health authorities have been reiterating their concerns about college students joining end-of-summer parties and other gatherings that could feed the spread of COVID-19 and bring it onto campuses this fall.
The newest numbers come after the state’s case total climbed by nearly 2,000 over the weekend.
The number of new cases reported each day has been trending upward in the past couple weeks after falling earlier in the month. The percentage of tests coming back positive has also been trending up.
That drew the attention of White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, who was in Minnesota on Sunday. Birx noted to reporters that there’s a “worrisome trend” here because Minnesota now has nine counties where the rate of positive cases detected in tests now tops 10 percent, up from just a couple not long ago.
That’s heightened concerns among health officials as students head back to schools, colleges and universities across the state.
Developments around the state
U Crookston imposing COVID-19 curfew
The University of Minnesota Crookston has imposed a 9 p.m. on-campus curfew in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause said the curfew is designed to keep students away from bars or large off-campus gatherings.
School officials will reevaluate the curfew on Sept. 8, based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the area, and local health care capacity.
“Decisions are very much made based upon what’s happening locally, because we know it can change from one community to another,” she said. “And those will be the factors that will help guide that decision as we go forward.”
Holz-Clause says exceptions will be made for students with off-campus jobs.
— Dan Gunderson | MPR News
Minnesota COVID-19 survivor thanks hospital staff who saved him: Rick Huggins spent weeks on a ventilator and near death from COVID-19. But he persevered with the help of the doctors and nurses at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul — and over the weekend, he returned there to thank them and celebrate his recovery.
Birx makes mask pitch, voices concern over Minnesota COVID-19 trends: The White House coronavirus response coordinator said there’s a “worrisome trend” here because Minnesota now has nine counties where the rate of positive cases detected in tests now tops 10 percent, up from just a couple not long ago. Cases statewide rose 16 percent over the last week.
Minnesota lands federal money for $300 weekly unemployment boost: Federal approval came Saturday, a swift turnaround after Minnesota applied late last week for a program that will provide $300 more per week in unemployment payments. The extra assistance will be retroactive for the past month and could last well into September.
COVID-19 in Minnesota
Data in these graphs are based off Minnesota Department of Health cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.