- No statewide mask mandate yet, but Gov. Walz is considering
- Wisconsin asks people to stay home this 4th of July weekend
- MDH to young people: 'You are not invincible'
- Freehouse in Minneapolis closes after staff tests positive
Thursday, July 2
New COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward in Minnesota as 500 new positive tests were reported on Thursday.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported those cases on a volume of 13,505 tests: a positivity rate of approximately 3.7%.
That's the same positive testing rate MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm announced on Wednesday. She said then that it's up from last week but still a good rate.
Thirteen people have died of COVID-19 in the past 24-hour reporting period, bringing the total death toll since the pandemic began to 1,458. Of those deaths, 1,143 occurred in long-term care or assisted living.
Hospitalizations are up Thursday after a steady downward trend. MDH reported 274 people are currently hospitalized and 123 of them are in the ICU. That's up overall from 260 people hospitalized the previous day, with 125 of those in the ICU.
People in their 20s surpassed those in their 30s to make up the largest group of COVID-19 cases in the state last week. That trend has continued, with 7,979 cases among people ages 20-29 as of Thursday. People ages 30-39 account for 7,272 cases.
Those in their 80s account for a smaller group of total cases - 1,576 - but have the highest number of deaths in one age group, at 498.
The Freehouse brewpub in Minneapolis announced Thursday morning that it is temporarily closing after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The Facebook post from the restaurant says, "We knew this day would come and are now enacting our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan."
The Freehouse says it will close for 24 hours for disinfecting, and all employees who had contact with the person have been sent home with a recommendation to self-quarantine. There will be a team of "non impacted employees" from the restaurant group staffing the Freehouse when it reopens on Friday at 11 a.m.
The Minnesota Department of Health has been contacted, according to the post.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is asking people to stay home this Fourth of July weekend after a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to the DHS, many of the new cases in recent weeks have been connected to bars and gatherings. Nearly 20% of COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin have tested positive in the last two weeks, and 50% came in the last five weeks.
Twenty-three percent of total cases are people in their 20s, compared to 11% in early April.
"We need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible," DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in a Thursday news release.
Wednesday, July 1
In an afternoon press conference, Gov. Tim Walz said the state of Minnesota continues to evaluate whether to issue a mask mandate, but no decision has been made.
"We saw this become unnecessarily political," Walz said about masks. However, the governor noted some opinions and actions are shifting among national leaders, pointing out that Vice President Mike Pence wore a mask on a recent visit to Arizona, after the vice president did not wear a mask on a visit to Minnesota in April.
Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that the current testing positivity rate of COVID-19 in the state is 3.7%, which is up from last week but still a good rate.
On Wednesday, Malcolm said that the four deaths that occurred in the previous 24 hours all were in congregate living settings.
Malcolm touched on the upcoming holiday weekend recommending people to practice social distancing, celebrate with people from your own household and to gather outdoors rather than indoors.
People between the ages of 20 and 29 make up the largest group of confirmed cases with 7,821 testing positive. Health officials have referred to this group as the most social in Minnesota, and have urged them to take precautions when going out to bars and gathering spots.
"You are not invincible and neither are your loved ones," Malcolm said specifically addressing young people and the growing cases among those in their 20s.
Doctor Ruth Lynfield said that their department has confirmed that 13 children have the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). Eleven of the cases have been linked to COVID-19. Eight of the cases have needed the ICU. There have been no deaths related to the syndrome so far. The average age of the patients is 5.
Doctor John Hick from the Hennepin County Medical Center said that the shortage for personal protective equipment continues but it is improving.
Hick said the state is working on alternate care sites in hopes to ease the pressure of hospital capacity in rural areas.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.