The state of Minnesota on Tuesday, May 12, finally surpassed Gov. Tim Walz's goal of over 5,000 daily COVID-19 tests, conducting 5,053 tests.
While the state posted over 5,000 tests on a single day one week earlier, that figure was inflated by delayed reporting.
The milestone marks the delayed accomplishment of what once seemed like an impossible objective, when on April 12, Walz said he wanted the state to collect 5,000 tests a day by May 4.
For the month of April the state had warned the public about the virus, and yet could not increase testing above 1,500 to 2,000 daily samples for much of the month.
Walz had effectively asked for a tripling of that capacity, in a time of global testing materials shortages, noting that the state had collected 38,000 so far, then adding "we need to be collecting that much every week."
In recent days, the governor's critics have complained the state is under-delivering on a promised 20,000, 30,000 or even 35,000 tests a day.
Concerned that months of inavailability has trained the public with symptoms of the illness to not seek out testing, health officials have recently begun a campaign to spread the message that testing is available for all with symptoms, including a Tweet on Monday from Walz.
The 5,000 tests Tuesday produced 695 confirmed cases, bringing the state's laboratory-confirmed total to 12,494 cases.
Minnesota reported another 23 deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday as well, raising the statewide total to 614 fatalities.
The deceased were residents of Hennepin, Ramsey, Itasca, Anoka, Cass, LeSueur, and Washington counties, and 18 were residents of long term care.
The rise in cases continued on Tuesday in counties home to meat processing.
Kandiyohi County added 51 cases to reach 367, Nobles County added 22 cases to reach 1,269, and Stearns County added 69 cases to reach 1,443 cases, the second-highest case count in the state.
The North Dakota Department of Health announced two more Cass County women have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
The women, one in her 70s and the other in her 100s, both had underlying health conditions, according to the department.
Thirty-eight North Dakotans, including 29 residents of Cass County, have now died from the illness that has claimed more than 80,000 lives nationwide.
The department also confirmed 53 new cases of COVID-19 on 818 tests Tuesday.
The amount of tests evaluated each day has varied considerably over the past week. The state fell short Tuesday of its goal to announce at least 1,800 tests per day, but more than 2,100 tests were announced Monday. Even with the recent fluctuations, North Dakota ranks among the top states in the country in testing per capita.
The total number of positive tests for the virus in the state is at 1,571, but 877 people have recovered from the illness, including 31 announced Tuesday. There are 38 residents hospitalized with the illness, up four from Monday.
Forty-four of the new cases Tuesday came from Cass County, which encompasses Fargo and West Fargo. The county now has 866 known cases, but the department reports that 480 residents have recovered after previously testing positive.
The South Dakota Department of Health reported the number of reported COVID-19 cases increased to 3,663. There are 1,315 active cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
The number of South Dakotans who have died due to COVID-19 increased by five to a total of 39. One person in the 30 to 39 age range was one of the dead, according to officials.
State health officials said the individual had an underlying health condition. Active cases increased by 78 since Monday for a total of 1,315 active cases as of Tuesday, May 12. There 74 hospitalizations in the state as of Tuesday, down four since Monday.
The total number of people ever hospitalized in the state is 271, up eight from Monday.
The state Department of Health Services reported a total of 10,611 positive coronavirus cases on Tuesday, an increase of 193 cases from Monday.
A total of 418 Wisconsin residents have died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Milwaukee County leads the state with 4,069 positive coronavirus cases. In all,112,748 residents have tested negative for the virus.
Around the region
- The Minnesota National Guard will conduct another round of commemorative flyovers this week in partnership with the U.S. Air Force. The Wednesday, May 13, flights will be the second military service branch tribute to those working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic in as many weeks. The flight path for the flyovers will reach Albert Lea, Alexandria, Baudette, Bemidji, Big Fork, Blue Earth, Burnsville, Cloquet, Cook, Crosby, Detroit Lakes, Duluth, Edina, Ely, Fergus Falls, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Hermantown, Hibbing, International Falls, Jackson, Luverne, Mankato, Marshall, Moorhead, New Prague, New Ulm, Northfield, Redwood Falls, Rochester, Roseau, Shakopee, Silver Bay, Thief River Falls, Two Harbors, Virginia and Worthington in Minnesota, as well as Ashland, Bayfield, and Superior in Wisconsin.
- Lakes Jam music festival organizers reported Tuesdaythat going forward with the music event June 24-27 is no longer an option due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lakes Jam is moving to Aug. 5–8 at Brainerd International Raceway.
- North Dakota has approved early release dates for state prisoners due to mitigating the coronavirus, a spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday. The state parole board has approved the release of 119 inmates from the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the past two months as prisons take precautionary measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- The North Dakota Emergency Commission voted to send out more than $500 million in federal funds to state agencies on the front lines of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The more than $524 million the commission approved for spending Tuesday represents about 42% of the funds received by the state through a massive $2.2 billion federal aid package known as the CARES Act.
- Walz's expanded executive powers are set to come to an end Wednesday, May 13 — unless the governor opts to extend them — potentially forcing him to seek legislative approval to issue orders that significantly impact Minnesotans' lives.
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