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Live updates: Health officials urge Minnesota bars, restaurants to follow COVID-19 guidance

Here are the latest updates on COVID-19 in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Credit: KARE
COVID-19 cases in Minnesota as of Monday, July 13, 2020.

ST PAUL, Minn — Monday, July 13

  • MDH urges bars, restaurants and customers to follow the rules
  • Both new cases and tests are down Monday in Minnesota
  • Split Rock Lighthouse to reopen for visitors following COVID-19 closure
  • WHO warns coronavirus pandemic is worsening globally

2 p.m.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm offered a reminder Monday to bars and restaurants that although they're allowed to be open, there are specific limitations imposed by the state.

Malcolm reminded these establishments that:

  • Indoor seating must not exceed 50%, tables have to be 6 feet apart
  • Outdoor tables have to be 6 feet apart
  • Establishments cannot exceed a maximum of 250 people indoors or outdoors
  • Workers and customers should follow mask guidelines on the state website

"These environments that we’re all so eager to get back to do have limited capacity and do come with strong health protective measures," she said. "Turning the dial relies heavily on Minnesotans doing their part."

Malcolm said Minnesotans can file complaints about establishments not following the rules at 651-201-4500. When a violation is identified either through a complaint or during a routine inspection, Malcolm said the first step is education and making sure the establishment knows the rules. Then there is a follow-up visit the next day, and if the guidance is still not being followed, further regulatory action is possible. 

"The bottom line is we need businesses to follow these guidelines, and patrons to respect that there are guidelines businesses are trying to follow," Malcolm said.

The more than 800 new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend was the highest single-day tally since late May. However, Malcolm said that high tally in May was based off fewer tests, so the test positivity rate at that time would have been higher than the current one.

RELATED: Some Twin Cities restaurants temporarily close for cleaning after employees contract COVID-19

RELATED: Bars, restaurants urged to follow COVID-19 guidelines or risk second shutdown

MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said Monday that recent studies suggest that a person's infectiousness may peak in the pre-symptomatic period, so they're focusing on that timeframe when they do contact tracing.

She said this data also highlights the importance of social distancing and wearing a mask.

"People may be at their peak of infectiousness at a time where they’re not even aware that they have symptoms," she said.

The median age of COVID-19 cases continues to drop, and is currently at 37.6 years. Malcolm said the shift to younger cases has not been a surprise, since some restrictions on social gatherings and businesses lifted, but "perhaps the degree of the shift has been a surprise."

It's not necessarily the spread among younger people that MDH is concerned about, but "how it gets spread unwittingly" to people who are higher risk, Malcolm said.

"That’s what we’re frankly expecting to see in the coming weeks, is that second and third generation transmission from these more recent cases," she said.

The test positivity rate in Minnesota is currently 4.7%, and Malcolm said when it gets to 5% for more than five days in a row, they start to get concerned that it could be climbing back up.

“Our positivity rate in later April and the first half of May was double and even triple where it is now," Malcolm said. "So we just wanna put in context, we definitely have seen a deterioration … but we’re still in a much better position than we were in the late spring.”

Minnesota's hospitalization rates have remained steady or even declined in recent weeks, even as cases increase. Ehresmann said while this is likely due to the younger skew of cases, we should not expect it to continue indefinitely.

"They don’t live and work in a vacuum, and so as they develop illness we will likely see additional illness in other sectors," she said. 

Malcolm said as hospitals see those increases, deferring elective procedures again and using surge capacity are both options for meeting the demand if needed.

11 a.m. 

New COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are down significantly from recent days, but those cases are reported out of a smaller number of tests.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 499 new coronavirus cases were reported Monday. That's out of a testing volume of 11,776. The newly reported cases are at their lowest since Wednesday. However Wednesday's low case count also came out of a smaller volume of tests - only 7,617.

Two more COVID-19 deaths were reported Monday, bringing the total number of deaths since the pandemic began to 1,504. Of those, 1,172 were in long-term care or assisted living.

Hospitalizations are down slightly after being up over the weekend. As of Monday, 247 people are hospitalized, with 114 of them in the ICU. Generally, hospitalizations have been steady or trending downward for several weeks.

People ages 20-29 remain the age group with the largest number of cases, at 9,831 as of Monday. They're followed by people in their 30s with 8,106 cases. MDH has been urging young adults to follow social distancing guidelines since bars reopened. 

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said last week that bars and restaurants remain a "significant source of exposure" for cases in Minnesota.

Cases among young people under 20 have also been rising proportionally, with the percentage of total cases doubling between mid-May and July.

RELATED: 'I just didn't have any energy to do anything': One man's experience getting COVID-19 at age 25

RELATED: Minnesota's COVID-19 cases among youth are up 550% since May

Sunday, July 12

2 p.m.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services have released new case numbers for the state, showing an increase of 769 cases for a total of 36,448.

820 (2.2%) of all total cases have died from the virus, up one from Saturday.

264 Wisconsinites are currently hospitalized due to complications from the virus, with 74 in serious enough condition to require intensive care. 

To date, 3,824 Wisconsinites have been hospitalized from the virus - 10.5% of all cases reported. 

Large clusters of cases have been reported in Wisconsin's more populous counties. Milwaukee County has the most cases at 13,928. This is followed by Brown County at 3,228, Dane County at 2,995 and Racine County at 2,339 cases.

As with Minnesota, Wisconsin cases tallies skew toward younger Americans, with those 20 to 49 making up a collective 57% of all confirmed cases. 

Deaths also mirror Minnesota trends, skewing more toward older Americans. Those 60 years of age and older represent an aggregate 88% of all reported deaths.

More detailed information can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website

11:30 a.m.

Of the 755,052 tests conducted thus far, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) now reports a total of 42,281 cases in the state, up 715 from Saturday.

MDH reported 3 additional deaths since Saturday, placing the total death toll at 1,502 since the pandemic began.

251 Minnesotans are currently in the hospital due to complications from the virus, with 123 of them serious enough to require intensive care. 

Hennepin County has reported 13,568 cases and 791 deaths. This is followed by Ramsey County (5,256 cases and 233 deaths), Dakota County (2,713 cases and 96 deaths) and Stearns County (2,523 cases and 19 deaths).

Confirmed cases have skewed toward younger demographics, with those 20-49 collectively making up nearly 57% of all reported cases.

Deaths have skewed the other direction, toward older Minnesotans. Collectively, those 60 years of age and older have accounted for roughly 93% of total deaths.

The demographic make up of COVID-19 cases and deaths is further broken down, here

More granular information regarding the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health's Website.

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 companies in Minnesota are hiring. 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.

RELATED: WHO warns the coronavirus pandemic is worsening globally

RELATED: Split Rock Lighthouse to reopen for visitors Wednesday