Story at a glance
- Minnesota public health officials are observing increases in hospitalizations, fatalities and new cases related to the coronavirus.
- The majority of new cases are being seen among young people.
With COVID-19 now taking shape as regional outbreaks across various states, the Midwest is the latest region to see the same climbing positivity rates previously observed by the Northeast and Sun Belt, which led to skyrocketing COVID-19 infections, hospitalization and fatalities.
One Midwestern state, Minnesota, is exhibiting increases across all three metrics. According to data compiled by MPR News, the number of new cases has been steadily rising, reporting 606 new cases on Tuesday along with four deaths.
This brings the statewide confirmed case count to 57,162, per state health department figures.
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Following these troubling numbers are the death toll and hospitalization rates, both of which are rising, although the number of deaths may be heading for a plateau. Along with these rising trends, the positivity rate of the state has grown past 5 percent, despite previously reporting a rate as low as 3 percent in mid-June, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm echoed other public health officials, saying that the positivity rate is an important indicator in how efficiently the virus is spreading. She implored residents to continue following public health guidance — including social distancing, wearing masks and forgoing crowded outings.
“Every time each of us makes a decision that makes transmission more likely,” she explained, noting even an individual feeling well may be asymptomatically spreading the virus. “We’re really holding back the rest of our state from moving ahead toward ... the better days we are all so eager to reach.”
While the highest number of confirmed cases are seen within the age groups of 20 to 29, corroborating theories that younger Americans are propagating the virus’s spread through private parties that do not heed to public health orders, deaths are primarily seen among older patients. The number of deaths begin to dramatically increase by the 50 to 59 age group, with 1,579 of Minnesota’s 1,620 recorded deaths occurring among people between 50 to 100 years old or more. Patients under the age of 49 compose just 41 of the total number of fatalities recorded across Minnesota.
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