ST. PAUL — The number of Minnesotans diagnosed with coronavirus jumped by 25 on Wednesday, March 25, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The new state total stands at 287 confirmed cases with one death, though the health department cautions that these numbers are a substantial undercount.
Cases were diagnosed for the first time in Winona and Goodhue counties. Also on Wednesday, Sanford Health in Bemidji reported a positive case for the first time in Beltrami County, though that case is not yet reported by the state health department.
"The patient is believed to have become ill after being exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus while traveling internationally," according to the health system. "The patient is experiencing mild symptoms from COVID-19 and has been under self-isolation at their private residence since returning home from travel."
The number of hospitalized patients also nearly doubled, from 15 to 26 as compared to a day prior. And 12 were reported in intensive care units.
The health department believes that while some counties have yet to post confirmed cases, the coronavirus is circulating widely within the state.
For the first time on Wednesday, health officials gained access to the number of tests that have turned up negative on people who received testing from private labs.
Previous figures for the total number of tests conducted in the state included all tests conducted by the health department, both positive and negative, but only those tests conducted by private labs — like Mayo Clinic — which turned up positive.
The new data suggest that private labs have almost matched the number of tests performed by the state despite starting days if not weeks later and that in total, 11,475 Minnesotans have been tested for coronavirus. Of those, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said more than 6,300 tests had been processed so far at the state health lab while more than 5,000 came through other labs.
And while the state had largely cleared its backlog as of Wednesday, Malcolm said a shortage of swabs could lead to additional issues in getting patients tested. She said health officials were prioritizing sick individuals who displayed symptoms and hospitalized individuals.
Malcolm also responded to concerns about negative results taking days to be relayed to patients, saying many of the slower results came through national labs. While the state lab can turn around test results to medical providers in about 24 hours, which can then be relayed to patients, national labs operate on a different timeline, she said.
“We don’t have much transparency into their timelines,” Malcolm said.
Forum News Service Minnesota State Capitol Correspondent Dana Ferguson contributed to this report.
MDH COVID-19 hotline: (651) 201-3920.
School and childcare hotline: (651) 297-1304 or (800) 657-3504.
MDH COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.
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