ST. PAUL — Nineteen more Minnesotans have died from the coronavirus and its complications, and new cases continue to climb, state health officials reported Thursday, Oct. 15.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 19 additional deaths associated with COVID-19, bringing the total number of Minnesotans who've perished from the illness to 2,199. And another 1,108 tested positive for COVID-19.

The additional cases come a day after the state reported its highest number of fatalities from the illness since early June and the number of deceased is the second-highest the state has reported since June. The newly reported deaths included people from around the state, ranging in age from their early 30s to their late 90s. Details about one of those who died were not immediately available.

Eleven of the people who died were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. Residents in long-term care facilities have comprised the majority of those who've perished from the disease and the state in recent days has activated National Guard troops to staffing support in facilities in Austin and Hibbing where outbreaks of the illness had been recently reported.

In the last two days, 64 more Minnesotans were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 and 11 required intensive care. Since the pandemic took hold in Minnesota, 2,362 Minnesotans have required ICU care for the illness and its complications. And 104,547 who've tested positive for COVID-19 no longer require isolation.

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In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Health on Thursday announced that it would expand "barrier-free" testing events to Montevideo, Monticello, Cambridge and Crookston next week. Minnesotans can access tests at no cost, regardless of whether they have health insurance coverage.

The additional testing efforts come a month into the state's push to make tests more accessible around the state. In the last four weeks, the state has administered roughly 25,000 tests in 21 sites.

“The acceleration in cases and community spread is a reminder that it only takes one contagious person to lead to an outbreak,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a news release. “These trends are most troublesome in Greater Minnesota right now, as we see smaller, everyday gatherings and activities leading to infections in long-term care facilities, schools, sports teams, businesses, and more. We know everyone is looking for the right balance, of how to remain safe while taking care of their physical and mental health needs, and staying in touch with aging family members."

Additional COVID-19 saliva testing sites are set to open Saturday, Oct. 17, in Moorhead and Tuesday, Oct. 20, in Brooklyn Park.

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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.