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Live updates: COVID-19 case records continue, learning model recommendations get more strict

Here are the latest COVID-19 developments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Editor's note: The above video is from Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Thursday, Nov. 5

  • Minnesota, Wisconsin continue to break daily case records
  • ICU use nearing capacity in Minnesota
  • U.S. hits 100,000 daily COVID cases, as Fauci predicted
  • AstraZeneca expects to deliver COVID-19 vaccine trial data by year's end

12:15 p.m.

New data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows some level of hybrid or distance learning is now recommended across the entire state for the first time.

Weekly school guidance data released Thursday shows COVID-19 case rates per 10,000 people are high enough for the state to recommend full distance learning in 34 of the state's 87 counties, the highest number since the state first began providing the data in late summer. 

Another 38 counties fall under the guidance for hybrid learning for elementary schools and distance learning for secondary students, including Hennepin and Ramsey counties in the Twin Cities metro area.

For the first time, there are no counties that fall under state recommendations for full in-person learning.

State officials have emphasized that this case data alone does not automatically determine the learning plan or any changes for a particular county or school district; the data is meant to be used as guidance in each district or school's decision-making process.

According to the state's Safe Learning Plan, the county case data leads to five recommended learning models:

  • 0-9 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for all students
  • 10-19 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for elementary students, hybrid learning for secondary students
  • 20-29 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for all students
  • 30-49 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for elementary students, distance learning for secondary students
  • 50 or more cases per 10,000: Distance learning for all students

11 a.m.

Once again Minnesota has broken its own record for new cases of COVID-19 identified in a single day.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 3,956 total new cases on Thursday, breaking its own daily record for the third day in a row.

That number is a combination of 3,872 "confirmed" cases via PCR test, and 84 "probable" cases identified with an antigen test.

MDH also reported 25 deaths from COVID in the last 24 hours, bringing Minnesota's death toll to 2,555.

The new record comes a day after MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm warned the public that they will continue to see more than 3,000 new cases per day, and should brace for 4,000 daily.

"We are falling behind the rapid spread of this virus," Malcolm said on Wednesday. "Gathering in a group of people is dangerous right now." 

MDH reported on Wednesday that the Twin Cities metro is nearing ICU capacity at 98%, and ICUs across the state are 92% full. As of Thursday, 11,016 people have been hospitalized in Minnesota due to COVID since the pandemic began. Of those, 2,839 were in the ICU.

Cases continue to surge in young people ages 20-24, by far the largest group of confirmed cases with 19,700. MDH has warned repeatedly that young people are carrying the virus, often asymptomatically, contributing to the rapid spread in Minnesota. That spread is beginning to reach Minnesota's long-term care facilities once again, MDH said this week.

2 p.m.

ICU capacity in the metro is at 98% in use and statewide ICU capacity is at 92% in use, according to MDH officials.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Minnesota is on its fourth day of hitting more than 3,000 cases and should brace for hitting 4,000 cases daily.

The positivity rate is now 9.2% up from around 6%, Malcolm said.

"We are falling behind the rapid spread of this virus," Malcolm said.

A significant number of the new cases falls in people ages 18-35, and they are dismissing symptoms or confusing them with other causes rather than COVID-19, Malcolm said.

"Gathering in a group of people is dangerous right now," Malcolm said.

The level of the virus circulating in Minnesota communities is very high and the spread of the virus is happening in friend gatherings.

Mail saliva testing is expected to be available in Minnesota in the next week.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said that deer hunters should still be cautious and keep their masks on while outside and reminded them that shelters are indoors, which poses a risk for spread.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported its highest single-day number of coronavirus cases with 5,935 and 54 new deaths. It's the third deadliest day in the state since the pandemic began. Wisconsin's total deaths have surged to 2,156 statewide.

11 a.m.

For the second consecutive day, Minnesota COVID-19 cases have surged into record territory. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says 3,844 new cases of the virus were recorded during the last 24-hour reporting period, pushing the state's total positive cases to 160,923 since the beginning of the pandemic. Those new cases are based on 32,775 tests (both PCR and Antigen) processed in private and state labs. MDH says 1,944 of those were Antigen tests, which confirm "probable" cases. 

Another 31 Minnesotans have lost their lives to the virus in the past day, bringing the total of fatalities to 2,530. It is the 10th day that deaths have met or exceeded the 30 mark. Of the total deaths 1,760, or 70% of them are associated with assisted living or long-term care settings.

Total hospitalizations related to the virus have now reached 10,849 since the start of the pandemic, with 2,805 of those patients requiring care in the ICU. State health officials say 136,457 people who at one time tested positive for coronavirus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

MDH data indicates both general hospital bed use and ICU bed use hit their highest mark since Aug. 1, and hospital admissions remain elevated.

Those between the ages of 20 and 24 make up the largest group of Minnesota's COVID cases by a significant margin, with 19,360 and one death, while 24 to 29-year-olds account for 15,594 cases and three fatalities. 

The largest grouping of deaths involves people between 85 and 89, with 450 in 2,144 confirmed cases. 

Hennepin County has experienced the most COVID activity with 38,911 cases and 1,009 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 16,189 cases and 388 fatalities. Dakota County reports 11,435 cases and 141 deaths. 

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has the least COVID activity with 30 cases and zero deaths, followed by Lake of the Woods County with 56 cases and one death.

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what businesses are open as the state slowly lifts restrictions. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19

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