ROCHESTER, Minn. — Minnesota reported a record 7,228 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, Nov. 12, pushing the state past 200,000 total cases. It was more than a 2,000-case jump from the previous day's total, and at least 1,000 cases higher than the previous record, set earlier in the week.
The state has attacked the explosion of new COVID-19 cases with another slate of new testing resources, with the announced the goal of putting free, fast, "no-barriers" testing for all who wish it within a short drive of every Minnesotan.
Even those who don't drive can get testing, as long as they have a mailbox. In addition to announcing the opening Monday, Nov. 16, of a new saliva testing location in Burnsville, Minn. — the 10th such saliva site operated by Vault Medical Services — the state on Thursday announced a statewide COVID-19 Test at Home program.
The COVID-19 Test at Home program, initially a pilot program in 23 counties and the Red Lake Nation, is now available to all Minnesotans with access to an internet connection via sign-up online.
“Minnesota is entering the most difficult phase of the pandemic yet,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm in a statement. “We have record levels of new cases, high hospitalization numbers, and increased community spread. At the same time, we know promising vaccines are entering new stages of development.”
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) also announced plans for an additional 11 testing sites within National Guard Armories in Albert Lea, Anoka, Crookston, Fairmont, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Inver Grove Heights, Morris, Stillwater, and Wadena with an 11th planned in the west metro. "This latest expansion of testing," said Malcolm, "will put nearly every Minnesotan just three days from a test result.”
All of the new testing sites, as well as the mail-order program, offer COVID-19 testing to any Minnesotan who wants to be tested, whether they have symptoms or not, and does not require insurance. The testing sites will stay in operation until at least the end of the year to provide sustained testing capacity across the state.
Gov. Tim Walz said on Thursday that he believes the state will surpass 300,000 total cases in the next two weeks.
The state reported 39 deaths on Thursday. The death total in Minnesota now stands at 2,793. The new deaths included one person in Stearns County in their 30s, and one person in Dakota County in their 40s. Two-thirds of the deaths were recorded in greater Minnesota.
Twenty-five of the 39 deaths were among residents of congregate living.
The state reported nearly 43,000 tests on Thursday, and put out the call for all persons between 18-35, whether symptomatic or not, to be tested. The call is an effort to gauge the percentage of young adults carrying COVID-19 asymptomatically.
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- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
- COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.