The Potluck

Minnesota now has 89 confirmed COVID-19 cases

By: - March 19, 2020 2:27 pm

The virus hasn’t just attacked cells. It’s attacked brains with conspiracy theories, too (Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rocky Mountain Lab)

The number of confirmed COVID-19 in Minnesota has reached 89, the state announced Thursday, up from 77 the day before.

A total of 3,038 people have been tested, an increase of 276 tests, about 9%, from Wednesday according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Officials said the number of confirmed cases is likely an undercount because of limited testing.

As of March 18, Minnesota had administered the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 tests of any U.S. state, according to data from the COVID-19 Tracking Project. But testing here is likely to slow under a state policy announced March 17 that limits testing in response to a nationwide shortage of testing kits.

Now, the state is testing only Minnesotans deemed high-priority: health care workers, hospitalized patients and people living in long-term care facilities.

A positive test result for a person with mild symptoms wouldn’t change their treatment plan — isolation and rest — while a positive test result from a hospitalized patient could affect what type of bed they’re in and their treatment, said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for MDH. It’s important to know test results for health care workers and people in care facilities because they’re in close proximity with others, Ehresmann said.

People with flu-like symptoms should self-quarantine for seven days from the time they start to feel sick, or for 72 hours after their fever goes away, whichever is longer, she said.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.