Minnesota reports 1,612 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths

    The coronavirus.

    Minnesota reported 1,612 new COVID-19 cases and 18 deaths Tuesday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

    A total of 425,261 Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19, and 5,461 have died. The surge in new cases and hospitalizations that swept the state in November and December has subsided, but health officials will be monitoring for signs of increased spread after the holidays.

    The relatively small number of new confirmed cases can be explained by low testing volume. Roughly 10% of the tests reported Tuesday were positive for COVID-19. Officials have said data from the end of December and early January might be unreliable because of the holidays.

    After experiencing one of the nation’s worst outbreaks last month, Minnesota now has the 47th-fastest rate of case growth, with roughly 29 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past week, according the Brown School of Public Health.

    More than 800 Minnesotans were hospitalized with COVID-19 Monday. Metro hospital ICUs were at roughly 91% capacity with 63 beds available, and 96% capacity for non-ICU beds, with 132 available.

    Rilyn Eischens
    Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native 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.