Situation Update for Tuesday, Oct. 13

The Minnesota Department of Health recorded 1,150 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the state’s case total to 114,574, and reported seven new deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,151.

Of those deaths, 1,524 were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Of those cases, 11,773 were health care workers.

Over 2.355 million tests have been completed so far, with over 19,000 completed Monday, Oct. 12.

To date, 102,624 COVID patients have been released from isolation.

MDH officials said Monday that four new cases of COVID-19 are associated with the Trump rally held in Bemidji on Sept. 18, with two other new cases associated with the counter-rallies held the same day. Sixteen cases in total are associated with the Bemidji events that day so far, with two patients needing hospitalization, one of those needing intensive care.

Bars and restaurants in Minnesota are continuing to implement new indoor dining guidance released by MDH. Guidance now allows for parties up to ten people inside restaurants and opened the possibility for live music to be allowed. Indoor capacity will still be capped at 250 people. Commissioner Jan Malcolm says they are still concerned over Minnesota’s COVID-19 case numbers, but called the easing of restrictions an example of the balance that policy makers have to walk in light of the public health concerns.

MDH recorded 10 new cases of COVID in Beltrami County today, bringing the county’s cumulative case total to 657 with six deaths; six new cases in Cass County, total of 261 cases and four deaths; one new case in Hubbard County, total of 214 cases and one death; 15 new cases in Itasca County, total of 585 with 16 deaths; two new cases in Koochiching County, total of 146 with four deaths; and two new cases in Lake of the Woods County, total of 39 cases and one death.

Three simple things can turn around surging COVID cases, said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health, during a special briefing of media.  “Keep six feet of distance, avoid gatherings and wear a mask,” she said.

“The schools have managed to control spread by doing these three things, and so can the community,” said Chandler.  “If we don’t stop the rise of COVID here in the next two weeks, our community spread will force schools to all go to distance learning.  And that also means no sports and activities.”

As of Monday, Oct. 12, at 8:00 a.m., Itasca County has continued to see a significant rise in cases, due largely to social gatherings such as weddings, backyard barbecues, at bars and restaurants, and clusters in workplaces.  Over the past 14 days, the county has seen 223 new cases and an average of 46.1 cases per 10,000 residents.

At an average of 50 cases per 10,000 residents, State of Minnesota guidelines suggest a shift to distance-only learning, which also would mean most school sports and activities would stop.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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