Minnesota reports 56 new COVID-19 deaths, a new single-day record

    Minnesota reported 4,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 56 deaths Wednesday, a record-high number of deaths that far surpasses the previous record of 36.

    The new figures come amid a bleak month for Minnesota. The state’s positivity rate has surpassed 10% — double the rate indicating controlled spread of COVID-19 — and the state reported record-high daily case totals for multiple consecutive days last week. 

    Health officials have said the coronavirus’ spread is driven by informal social gatherings among family and friends, and they urge Minnesotans to remain vigilant with social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds and indoor get-togethers.

    More than 1,300 Minnesotans are hospitalized, and health care systems are starting to feel the strain. In the metro, 97% of the metro’s critical care beds were occupied Monday, leaving 22 of the region’s 659 beds open for additional patients, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. ICUs were at least 90% full in the northeast, central and southeast regions of the state, and at least 50% full in other regions.

    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants, weddings and informal social gatherings Tuesday that state officials hope will slow the spread of COVID-19.

    “I feel like the guy in Footloose: No dancing, no fun, no whatever. That is not my intention. My intention is to keep you safe,” Walz said. “But I recognize this is painful. It’s no fun. I’m as frustrated as you are. We should’ve broke the back of this thing months ago in this country. We have not, but now is the time to do it.”

    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.