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Live updates: MDH reports 35 COVID deaths, matching single-day high

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

ST PAUL, Minn. — Wednesday, Oct. 21 

  • MDH reports 35 deaths, matching single-day high
  • Health officials worry about case growth in MN
  • While vaccines are not yet available, MDH is working on a distribution plan
  • Officials worry 'COVID fatigue' playing into spike in cases
  • Judge reinstates Wis. governor's order to limit capacity in establishments
  • U of M moves into third phase of COVID student plan 
  • Gov. Tim Walz announces more saliva testing sites going up this week

2 p.m.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she is sad to report that 35 Minnesotans have died of COVID in the last 24 hours, tying the state's previous single-day high set on May 28.

Malcolm said we need to brace ourselves for more cases and deaths unless we do something to change the current trajectory of the pandemic.

There are reports that Wisconsin hospitals are near-capacity and that they are now the fourth state in terms of coronavirus infection numbers, Malcolm said. 

Malcolm said that while Minnesota is not in the situation that Wisconsin is currently facing that we may head that way in the current case growth trajectories.

Malcolm urged Minnesotans to take on "minor inconveniences" that prevent the loss of life and keep others healthy.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said there are vaccines that are in the late stages of clinical trials but that MDH do not yet know when they will be available.

Ehresmann said that despite not knowing when the vaccine will be available, the health sector is planning vaccine distribution methods for the state. Vaccine availability and volumes will vary as they are released, Ehresmann said.

Vaccines are expected to be provided at no charge for Minnesotans but that people who are at higher risk and health care workers are likely to be prioritized at first, Ehresmann said.

More people will get access to the vaccine as the distribution plan rolls out.

Flu season reporting is starting Thursday. Officials ask Minnesotans to get their flu shots in order to help lessen the pressure on hospitals.

There is a 42% increase on Minnesotans getting a flu vaccine at this point in the season as compared to last year, Malcolm said.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is reporting 35 new deaths from COVID-19, matching the state's previous single-day high recorded on May 28.  

Those deaths bring the total of fatalities to 2,281 since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Of those deaths 1,608, or 70% of them, have occurred in long-term care and assisted living settings. MDH statistics say 25 of the 35 deaths reported Wednesday were in those settings.

State health officials say there are 1,082 newly confirmed cases in the state, continuing a slight downward trend. Those cases are based on the results of 15,963 PCR and Antigen tests processed in private and state labs. 

Minnesota has now recorded 126,591 total cases of COVID-19. 

Credit: KARE

The number of patients hospitalized since the pandemic hit Minnesota now stands at 9,147, with 2,473 of those requiring treatment in the ICU. MDH says 113,158 people once diagnosed with the virus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

Those between the ages of 20 and 24 remain the largest grouping of cases with 16,158 and one death, while people from 25 to 29 account for 12,294 cases and three deaths. The demographic from 15 to 19 comprises 11,548 cases, with no fatalities. 

MDH says people between 85 and 89 account for the largest number of COVID-19 deaths, with 395 in just 1,710 confirmed cases. 

Hennepin County has the most COVID activity in the state, with 32,678 cases and 974 deaths, while Ramsey County reports 13,436 cases and 352 fatalities. Dakota County has recorded 9,367 cases and 136 deaths.

On the other end of the spectrum, Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has the least COVID activity with 11 cases and no deaths, while Kittson County reports 33 cases. 


Tuesday, Oct. 20

2 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (WDHS) reported 4,591 new cases on Tuesday, the most cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began. Tuesday's number brings the total number of confirmed cases statewide to 178,482.

A Twitter post Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the high number is partially due to a system update that occurred over the weekend, so these totals reflect numbers from multiple days. Health officials reported 33 new deaths on Tuesday as the total number of fatalities statewide rises to 1,633. The number of fatalities is approximately 0.9% of those testing positive for the virus.

Due to high case numbers, Gov. Tony Evers issued an emergency order mandating indoor face coverings that began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Evers extended the mask mandate until Nov. 21.

Officials from the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced that they will be resuming some in-person activity on campus after they shifted to all online classes on Wednesday, Sept. 9 for two weeks after seeing a rapid increase in confirmed cases on campus.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6 Gov. Evers' administration issued a new order limiting the size of public indoor gatherings to 25% of capacity, to stem the spread of COVID-19. That order was struck down on Oct. 13 by a judge in Sawyer County but then reinstated on Oct. 19 by a Barron County judge.

11 a.m.

New cases of COVID-19 took a dip Tuesday, according to numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Health officials say 1,120 cases were reported in the past day, down from 1,632 cases Monday. Tuesday's numbers include cases confirmed by PCR test, and 12 probable cases detected by Antigen test. Those cases were based on a total of 13,903 tests processed in private and state labs.

Minnesota has now recorded 125,531 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Seven more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the state total to 2,246. Of those deaths 1,583, or 70 percent of them, involve residents in assisted living or long-term care facilities. 

Credit: KARE

The number of Minnesotans hospitalized since the virus entered the state has climbed to 9,042, with 2,451 of those patients being sick enough to require treatment in ICU. 

MDH says 111,634 people who at one time tested positive for COVID have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

Those between the ages of 20 and 24 make up the largest group of Minnesota's coronavirus cases by a significant margin, with 16,068 cases and one death. People from 25 to 29 account for 12,200 cases and three deaths, while 15 to 19-year-olds comprise 11,467 cases with no fatalities. 

The largest group of COVID fatalities involves people ages 85 to 89, with 389 deaths in just 1,691 cases. That means 23% of those from that age group who test positive for the virus die from it. 

Of all counties in the state, Hennepin has the most COVID activity with 32,482 cases and 966 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 13,357 cases and 347 fatalities. Dakota County reports 9,299 cases and 134 deaths. 

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has the least COVID activity with 11 cases and no deaths, while Kittson County reports 27 cases.

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.