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Live updates: Minnesota surpasses 20,000 cases

Here are the latest developments on the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Sunday, May 24

2:30 p.m.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is reporting on Sunday that the state's total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 15,277.

The state's death total has reached 510, which is three more than yesterday.

Health officials say over 2,300 people require hospitalization. 

Of those testing positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin, 18% are between the ages of 30 to 39, 17% are between 40 and 49, 17% are between 20 and 29, and 16% are 50 to 59. An estimated 12% are between 60 and 69.

A gender breakdown reveals that 51% of COVID-19 cases are women and 49% are men.

Health care workers make up 11% of those testing positive for COVID-19. 

Milwaukee County has the most cases at 6,185 with 276 deaths. Brown County has 2,243 cases and 32 deaths. Racine County reports 1,387 cases and 22 deaths.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a more comprehensive breakdown of COVID-19 across the state, and the resources available to combat the pandemic on their website.  

11:15 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Sunday that the number of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Minnesota has risen to 20,573. 

Seventeen more people also died, bringing the death total to 869.

Health officials say 709 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Of the 17 new deaths, 12 occurred in long-term care, 4 at private residences and 1 person died at a group home.

MDH also said Sunday that the state has completed 21,925 tests and private labs have completed 176,039 tests.

Health officials also say 2,588 total cases have required hospitalization. Of the total cases as of Sunday, 533 people remained in the hospital with 207 patients in intensive care. 

MDH says 14,115 people no longer need to be isolated.

Saturday, May 23

2:30 p.m.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is reporting the state's total number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 14,877, with 2,292 (15%) of all reported cases requiring hospitalization. This is an increase of 481 cases since Friday's tally of 14,396 total cases. 

The state's COVID-19 death total has reached 507, 11 deaths higher than the 496 reported Friday.

The vast majority of cases have occurred in either the southeastern (63%) or the northeastern (21%) regions of the state. 

Milwaukee County has the highest number of confirmed cases at 5,987, with 276 reported deaths. This is followed by Brown (2,238 cases and 32 deaths), Racine (1,311 cases and 22 deaths) and Kenosha (983 cases and 22 deaths).

The dominant age ranges involving confirmed cases are 30-39 (18%), 20-29 (17%), 40-49 (17%) and 50-59 (16%).

Cases are evenly split among men (49%) and women (51%). 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has a more comprehensive breakdown of COVID-19 across the state, and the resources available to combat the pandemic on their website.  

2 p.m.

Following consultation with Minnesota's leaders of faith, Governor Tim Walz announced Saturday his executive order to reopen places of worship across the state starting May 27.

Executive order 20-62 comes after new guidance from the CDC, and allows for the reopening of places of worship at 25% capacity, with social distancing and other health guidelines in place.

The order lists the following guidance for places of worship, funeral homes, and other facilities that offer gathering space for weddings, funerals and prayer:

  • In all settings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between households.
  • In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 25 percent of the normal occupant capacity as determined by the fire marshal, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space.
  • In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 individuals.

RELATED: Gov. Walz issues order allowing worship, weddings and funerals to resume May 27

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 847 newly confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday. A total of 19,845 Minnesotans have now tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. 

The total number of tests processed by MDH or an outside lab is now at 189,493 since late January.

MDH says another ten Minnesotans have died of complications from the virus, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to 852, with 697 of those deaths among cases in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Officials say a total of 2,534 cases have required hospitalization. MDH reports 568 people are currently hospitalized, with 215 of those patients being treated in the ICU.

Health officials say 13,485 patients have recovered to the point of no longer needing to be in isolation.

The age group of 30-39 has the most cases with 3,981 and four deaths. The age group of 80-89 years has the most deaths, at 288 with 1,032 cases.

Hennepin County has the most cases in the state at 6,649, with 524 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 2,164 cases and 94 deaths, then Stearns County with 1,918 cases and 12 deaths.

Friday, May 22

  • Minnesota reports most one-day deaths, cases
  • Total number of cases reaches more than 19,000
  • State Fair canceled for the first time since 1946
  • President Trump tells governors to let houses of worship open

3:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health held a conference call Friday afternoon to address the most single-day deaths and cases reported in the state.

Health officials reported 33 additional deaths and 831 new cases, bringing the total number of deaths to 842 and total cases to 19,005 since the pandemic began.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm reiterated that the increase in number of cases is partly do to more Minnesotans getting tested.

The state will also be offering free in-person tests through Memorial Day weekend at six National Guard Armory locations across the state.

According to a press release, locations will be in East St. Paul, Minneapolis, Moorhead, Duluth, Faribault and St. James.

Testing will be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Saturday and extending through Monday. 

1 p.m.

President Donald Trump held an unscheduled press conference Friday afternoon saying houses of worship should be considered essential and advising all governors to allow them to open immediately.

“Today I’m identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services," Trump said at the press conference. He added that if governors don't abide by his request, he will “override" them, though it's unclear what authority he has to do so.

The Centers for Disease Control provided some considerations for religious leaders to keep in mind should they decide to open.

Among those suggestions:

  • Continue to practice social distancing
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Encourage the use of face masks or cloth face coverings
  • Take steps to minimize community sharing of worship materials
  • Plan for when a staff member or congregant becomes sick

The issue of faith-based gatherings came to the forefront this week when some Catholic and Lutheran leaders said they were going to defy Gov. Tim Walz's order, and allow in-person services beginning May 26.

A spokesperson for Gov. Walz's provided the following statement in response to President Trump's announcement:

Governor Walz has had many productive conversations with faith leaders in Minnesota over the last few weeks. The Governor’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of Minnesotans, and he looks forward to reviewing the new CDC guidance to better understand what this means for places of worship in Minnesota.

11 a.m.

New numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Friday reflect the highest single-day death total since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

MDH reported 33 deaths in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, bringing the state total to 842 deaths as the total number of cases reached more than 19,000.

According to MDH, there were 813 new cases of COVID-19 to make the state total 19,005 since the pandemic began.

According to MDH, 688 of the state's total deaths have occurred in long-term or assisted living facilities, including 25 new deaths in the most recent reporting period. This makes up 82% of the total deaths.

People ages 30 to 39 have the most positive cases at 3,827, followed by those 20-29 with 3,403. Minnesotans between the ages of 40 and 49 account for
3,001 of the diagnosed cases.

Overall, 180,971 coronavirus tests have been processed in private and state labs, 7,021 in the last day.

Hospitals across the state are currently treating 534 people for COVID-19, with 233 showing serious enough symptoms to require care in the ICU. 

Health officials say 12,696 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have now recovered enough to no longer require isolation. That's 67% of all Minnesotans diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

On Friday morning, the Minnesota State Fair board voted to cancel this year's fair as a result of the pandemic.

"If somehow we were able to cobble a fair together ... you wouldn't like it, you wouldn't recognize it," said general manager Jerry Hammer . "We all love the Fair. That's exactly why we can't have a fair. This is about doing the right thing for the future of the fair." 

It's the first time since 1946 Minnesota will not be hosting the annual event.

“It’s not a difficult decision. It’s the only decision," Hammer said.

Thursday, May 21

  • Minnesota hits one-day high in COVID deaths, case interviews
  • Some churches say they will defy governor's Stay Safe order
  • MN State Fair managers board to discuss status of 2020 fair
  • Salons, barbershops to reopen with limitations June 1
  • Restaurants allowed outdoor seating only

9:45 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz signed two executive orders on Thursday to extend the order to provide emergency relief for motor carriers and drivers operating within the state. The orders were signed in an effort to support the food supply chain, and provide exemptions in order to efficiently transport animal remains, according to a news release.

The orders are effective immediately and will remain in effect for 30 days.

2 p.m.

As Minnesota saw its highest one-day total of COVID-19 deaths yet, the state also hit its sixth consecutive day of reporting fewer new cases than the day before.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm said while that is positive, health officials "quite honestly" don't expect that trend to continue because of other indicators that cases will continue to grow.

Malcolm said testing numbers have been growing, but it's "not as fast of growth as we're aiming for in the coming weeks." Their goal is 20,000 COVID-19 tests per week, statewide, by June 1.

"COVID-19 is not only a concern for the elderly," she said. "We tend sometimes not to think about how broad a list those underlying conditions actually are."

Malcolm listed underlying conditions that can make COVID-19 more severe, including high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, obesity, smoking, chronic kidney disease and cancer.

She said beyond this list, they have also seen severe cases and even death in "otherwise healthy young people."

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann addressed graduation season for high school seniors, saying that it's important for the public to remember that large, in-person gatherings of unrelated people are going to be some of the last things to resume in Minnesota.

"As much as we wish that we could be doing graduations, still the guidelines are ... that is not possible at this time and we appreciate you keeping that in mind," she said. Ehresmann pointed out that even the "best laid plans" for socially distant gatherings cannot account for students rushing to hug friends they haven't seen in a while.

Cases defined as "community transmission," or infection without known contact with another coronavirus case, jumped by more than 2,000 in the new numbers reported Thursday. Ehresmann said that MDH completed a record number of about 900 case interviews Wednesday, which could be a contributing factor.

"Certainly we have said that there's a lot of community transmission happening and we want to see that go down," she said. "On the other hand we want people who are ill to be tested, so we're kind of at a point where we want two things that may be in direct opposition to each other."

Ehresmann acknowledged that there will probably be more cases of community transmission identified as testing increases, although that is a number they want to see go down.

In response to the news Wednesday that some churches plan to defy the governor's Stay Safe order and resume services, Malcolm said that "faith gatherings can pose some special risks."

"As faith services do become more prevalent it will be really, really critical that precautions are in place to prevent what we know to be some of the greater risks," Malcolm said.

She pointed out that cases are still on the rise overall, and in terms of the growth of the pandemic in Minnesota, we're not at the peak of the curve but heading toward it.

11 a.m. 

New numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Thursday reflect the highest single-day death total since the COVID-19 pandemic began, while the number of those hospitalized with the virus remains statistically high as well.

Thirty-two people died of complications from coronavirus in the most recent 24-hour reporting period, pushing fatalities to 809. Of those deaths, 663 (82%) occurred in long-term or assisted living facilities. 

MDH says an additional 539 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 18,200. People ages 30 to 39 have the most positive cases at 3,633, followed by those 20-29 with 3,231. Minnesotans between the ages of 40 and 49 account for 2,881 of the diagnosed cases.

Overall, 173,556 coronavirus tests have been processed in private and state labs, 6,218 in the last day.

Hospitals across the state are currently treating 566 people for COVID-19, with 229 showing serious enough symptoms to require care in the ICU. That number ties a single-day high. 

Health officials say 12,488 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have now recovered enough to no longer require isolation. That's 69% of all Minnesotans diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Wednesday, May 20

3 p.m.

In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz announced that restaurants can offer outdoor seating beginning June 1. According to state officials, people must keep six feet of distance between each other and keep their parties to four people or less, or up to six people if they're relatives. The capacity at the restaurant can't exceed 50 people.

Reservations will be required and masks must be worn by restaurant employees. Masks are also "strongly recommended" to patrons.

Salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors will also be allowed to reopen with limitations. Gov. Walz is also asking for them to take temperatures of employees and patrons if they have the capacity to do so. Six feet of distance is required with a maximum capacity of 25%. Appointments are required and masks are required by employees and customers.

Campgrounds and charter boats will be allowed to reopen on June 1 with specific guidelines from the Minnesota DNR.

Officials also unveiled the next phase of reopening, but no specific date has been set. That next phase will include gatherings of up to 20 people with an increased capacity for retail stores, salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors, and indoor dining for restaurants with capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines. The new phase will also allow outdoor services for up to 100 people for places of worship with social distancing guidelines. This includes weddings, funerals and any other religious services.

Full guidelines for the phased reopening are available on the state's website.

People are also being asked to continue to work from home if they're able to.

“If you are a business that can telework, you must telework,” Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said.

Gov. Tim Walz also addressed testing, and said the state has the capacity to test 10,000 people per day, but the number of people requesting tests haven't reached that number.

"Anybody with any symptoms should be getting tested but that volume has not materialized as quickly as we frankly thought," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. "This next step of creating mobile testing sites and going to the people is where we need to go."

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 645 new cases and 29 more deaths in the last 24 hours.

The number of total positive cases is now 17,670. A total of 167,338 tests have been completed in the state.

Of the total positive cases, 2,205 are healthcare workers.

There are now 12,227 patients who no longer require isolation.

The total amount of deaths is at 777 with 635 of them among patients who resided in long-term care or assisted living facilities. Nine deaths are listed as probable COVID-19 deaths, which means COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate but there is not a positive test documented for the person.

A total of 2,308 cases require hospitalization and 550 of them are hospitalized as of today. There are 212 patients in the ICU as of today too.

The age group with the most cases is 30-39 years old with 3,542 cases and three deaths. Those 20-29 years old are the next largest group with 3,128 testing positive for the virus.

Patients ages 70 and older account for 640 of the deaths in the state.

In terms of likely exposure to coronavirus, MDH says 3,759 cases involve exposure in a congregate living setting, 2,905 cases had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case, 2,784 cases had community transmission with no known contact with an infected person and 630 cases were linked to travel. Statistics say 937 of the positive cases are health care workers. The source of transmission is unknown for 6,655 cases.

MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers.

Hennepin County has the most cases in the state at 5,838, with 485 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 1,846 cases and 80 deaths, then Stearns County with 1,831 cases and 11 deaths.

RELATED: Summer camps across metro make plans to navigate through COVID-19

RELATED: Restaurants to offer outdoor dining; salons, barbershops to reopen with limitations June 1

RELATED: Bill would give $4,000 tax credit to retrain workers who lost jobs in pandemic

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 hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.