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Minnesota reports 35 new COVID deaths, tying mark from May

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota reported 35 confirmed new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, tying a single-day record set on May 28.

It’s possible that some of the 35 new deaths occurred sometime before Tuesday because it can take several days for deaths to be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Minnesota had risen over the past two weeks from 9.71 on Oct. 6 to 11 as of Tuesday. Officials planned to release more information Wednesday afternoon.

The new deaths raised the state’s cumulative toll to 2,281, and 70% of those occurred among residents of long-term care facilities.

The department also reported 1,082 new coronavirus infections, continuing this month’s trend of new case counts averaging more than 1,000 a day. Hospital admissions continued to climb. Minnesota’s seven-day trend of newly reported hospital admissions set a record high, averaging 80 a day over the last week.

In other Minnesota pandemic developments, the Salvation Army says 20 of its staff members from Minnesota and North Dakota tested positive for the coronavirus after 62 people attended a recent conference in northern Minnesota.

“Despite adherence to the health guidance, we fully acknowledge that COVID-19 is formidable and highly contagious,” Salvation Army spokesman Dan Furry said in a statement Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.

Of the 20 infected people who attended the conference in Finlayson, none were hospitalized, he said, and the Salvation Army was still awaiting results from some attendees of the Oct. 6-8 event. The nonprofit shut down its Rose­ville headquarters as a precaution, boosted cleanings of its sites and quarantined all conference attendees, he said.

The outbreak comes at a time when the state is experiencing widespread transmission of the coronavirus, with 1,120 new cases reported Tuesday — the 13th consecutive day that case counts had topped 1,000.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that Minnesota state employees who have been working from home during the pandemic were informed this week that they will most likely continue telecommuting at least through the end of the school year in June. The decision affects about half of the roughly 56,000 state workers who currently work from home.