The Minnesota Department of Health reported 542 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 new COVID-related deaths today, bringing the totals to 71,236 positive cases and 1,793 deaths.
Of those deaths, 1,325 were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Of those cases, 7,933 were health care workers.
Over 1.4 million tests have been completed so far, with 1.079 million individual people tested for COVID-19. Yesterday, over 11,000 tests were completed.
To date, 64,373 COVID patients have been released from isolation.
COVID patients in ICU decreased slightly today, at 134, with 170 others in non-critical hospital settings.
MDH reports that as of Saturday, Aug. 22, a few hospitals will no longer report hospitalized or ICU status on Saturdays and Sundays. The weekend numbers will include numbers from Friday for these hospitals, and should be considered estimates of current hospitalizations.
MDH reported four new COVID cases in Beltrami County today, bringing the total to 305 with one death; five new cases in Cass County, total of 98 with three deaths; two new cases in Itasca County, total of 173 with 12 deaths; two new cases in Koochiching County, total of 87 with three deaths; and one new case in Roseau County, total of 64 cases.
State officials yesterday unveiled a new plan to expand COVID-19 testing in Minnesota.
Governor Tim Walz announced yesterday that Minnesota plans to enter into a $14.66 million contract with Vault Health and RUCDR Infinite Biologics, which holds the first FDA Emergency Use Authorization PCR saliva test, and Vault Health can provide the logistics and telehealth services necessary to carry out the test.
The new saliva lab will be capable of processing as many as 30,000 samples a day.
These tests would require less PPE for health professionals than a traditional swab test, because the saliva tests are self-collected under the supervision of a health care worker.
Minnesotans would be able to take the test at-home while in a telehealth appointment, with results emailed to the patient within 72 hours.
The state plans to have this testing capacity in place by early October.