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Minnesota

Minnesota ICU patients with

COVID-19 drops to 3-month low

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The number of coronavirus patients in Minnesota intensive care units dipped to a three-month low Thursday as the state continues its downward trend in hospitalizations for COVID-19.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 103 patients in intensive care, a total last seen April 16 in the early weeks of the pandemic. It also reported 249 total hospitalizations, continuing a downward trend from a peak in late May.

The state reported eight new deaths. Minnesota’s daily death toll has been mostly in the single digits for more than three weeks as part of another slow decline.

But there are also concerning signs as Minnesota leaders debate next steps. According the COVID-19 Tracking Project, the state’s positivity rate — an important measure of whether the spread is accelerating — has inched up from 3.4% two weeks ago to 4.3%. And the trend in new cases has been rising, from 422 on a seven-day rolling average two weeks ago to 523, with 611 new cases reported Thursday.

Gov. Tim Walz is considering whether to impose statewide masking requirements, and whether to reopen schools this fall, continue with distance learning, or some hybrid of the two. Republican legislators tried unsuccessfully this week to rescind the emergency powers Walz has used to respond to the pandemic.

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