Situation Update for Tuesday, Oct. 20

The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 1,108 new COVID cases by PCR tests and 12 new probable cases by antigen testing, bringing the state’s confirmed case total to 125,215 and probable case total to 316. 

Seven new deaths were reported today, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,246.

Of those deaths, 1,583 were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Of those cases, 12,711 were health care workers.

Over 2.522 million PCR tests have been completed, and 20,649 antigen test have been completed, in total.

To date, 111,634 patients have been released from isolation.

MDH recorded 30 new COVID cases in Beltrami County today, bringing the county’s case total to 797 cases and seven deaths. One case is a probable case from a COVID-positive antigen test. MDH also recorded nine new cases in Cass County, total of 320 and five deaths; eight new cases in Clearwater County, total of 84 cases; and 25 new cases in Hubbard County, total of 335 cases and two deaths.

Sanford Bemidji and Beltrami County Public Health officials briefed both the Bemidji City Council and the Bemidji School Board during their respective meetings Monday evening on the local COVID situation.

Sanford’s Dr. David Wilcox reports that while the case rates for the county are increasing, there is not yet evidence that community spread is in Beltrami County’s schools.

As of Monday, Sanford has seen 896 positive tests, with 295 tests still pending, for a total of 14,444 tests completed. There are 15 COVID patients in the hospital, with three needing intensive care.

Wilcox also reported that COVID patients on average tend to stay in the hospital five days longer than other patients, which can impact capacity if numerous COVID patients are admitted within a couple of days.

Sanford Bemidji is a regional hospital, so these numbers do not represent only Beltrami County cases.

MDH also recorded eight new cases in Itasca County, total of 684 and 17 deaths; three new cases in Mahnomen County, total of 97 cases and one death; and six new case in Roseau County, for a total of 199 cases.

Itasca County has seen its first reduction in its 14-day positive case rate since late August.  The rate was 52.4 positive cases per 10,000 people as of Oct. 12, dropping to 51.2 on Oct. 15.  Even though a slight change, it is a sign that rising local trends can be reversed, according to health officials.

“As winter races toward Itasca County, it is helpful to remember that this pandemic, like snow, thankfully will not last forever,” said Kelly Chandler, Itasca County Public Health department manager.

“In the meantime, as we must move indoors, it is essential that we wear masks, keep six feet of distance, and avoid crowds.  Our schools, our businesses and our family members are depending on every person to do their part.”


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 events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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