ST PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,237 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, along with 34 new deaths.
MDH's COVID-19 case definition includes both antigen testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Positive PCR test results are considered confirmed cases, while positive antigen test results are considered probable cases.
Wednesday's new case total includes 1,013 confirmed cases and 224 probable cases.
The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 449,492, with 18,254 of those as antigen test results.
MDH says 34 new deaths from the virus were reported. That pushes the total number of fatalities in Minnesota to 5,979.
To date, 23,608 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 4,913 of them needing care in the ICU.
MDH reports that 432,738 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate.
Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 45,367 cases and three deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with
40,443 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,133 out of 5,906 cases.
In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 96,968 cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 90,056 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.
A total of 37,172 cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting,
7,727 were in a corrections setting, and 949 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 18,091 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.
MDH says 29,933 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 13,336 of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. The source of transmission for 155,260 cases is still unknown or missing.
MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers. However, now MDH is urging anyone who is symptomatic or even asymptomatic to be tested. Testing locations can be found online.
Hennepin County has the most COVID activity in the state with 93,303 cases and 1,483 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 40,134 cases and 741 deaths, Dakota County with 33,159 cases and 344 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,061 cases and 365 deaths.
Full data, including a breakdown of PCR and antigen test totals in some categories, can be found on MDH's website.
The Minnesota Department of Health has said repeatedly that the number of lab-confirmed cases is only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the true number of COVID-19 cases in the state.
The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal at mn.gov/covid19.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (WDHS) reported 1,522 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 525,924.
Health officials reported 50 new deaths on Wednesday as the total number of fatalities rose to 5,562, approximately 1.1% of those who are infected with the virus.
Due to high case numbers, Gov. Tony Evers issued a new emergency order mandating indoor face coverings on Friday, Nov. 20 that will last 60 days.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22 Gov. Evers announced that his administration has struck a deal with Vault Medical Services to provide free at-home COVID-19 saliva tests, according to the Associated Press. Anyone interested in a test can order one through the state Department of Health Services website starting immediately. Users must collect a sample as a Vault testing supervisor looks on via Zoom and then mail it back to a Vault lab using a prepaid label that comes with the kit. Results will take 48 hours to 72 hours.
Wisconsin health officials say a total of 23,363 people have been hospitalized from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, about 4.4% of the total number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus.
Of the confirmed cases in Wisconsin, 19% involve people between the ages of 20 to 29, 16% are between 30 and 39, 15% are between 50 and 59, and 14% are 40 to 49. An estimated 11% are between 10 and 19, and another 11% are between 60 and 69.
As of Wednesday Milwaukee County reported the largest number of confirmed cases with 92,249, along with 1,106 deaths. Waukesha County has reported 37,990 confirmed cases and 405 deaths, Dane County has reported 36,589 confirmed cases and 228 deaths, and Brown County has reported 28,481 cases and 180 deaths.
A more detailed breakdown of cases by county can be found on the DHS website.
The first positive case of COVID-19 coronavirus in Wisconsin was reported in a patient in Dane County in early February.
The first case in Minnesota was confirmed on March 6.
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