The latest on COVID-19 deaths, case counts and back to school developments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
- Backlog of tests from one Minnesota lab means case numbers appear artificially high
- Valley Medical says while some data was delayed in being reported to MDH, it was already giving clients results within 24 hours
- 13 more Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 in past 24 hours
A backlog of data from one testing lab skewed Minnesota’s reported COVID-19 numbers on Thursday, causing the daily case count to appear artificially high.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,158 new cases on Thursday, which would have been a new high for the state. The number of tests in the last 24 hours was reported as 21,144, also abnormally high.
“These higher counts are partially due to a backlog of data belatedly reported by a Minnesota provider and lab, Valley Medical, which has had an inconsistent record of reporting results to the state despite the requirements of the communicable disease reporting rule,” MDH said Thursday in a statement.
According to MDH, after health officials followed up with the lab, the company provided almost 19,000 test results at once. MDH has started to process that data, and Thursday’s new case count includes 265 cases that were processed from Valley Medical.
However, Valley Medical CEO Dr. Ashwin George told KARE 11 that his lab has been reporting positive cases to MDH every day. George said they didn’t have the software in place to report the more than 50 data points required by MDH until now.
George said that Valley Medical has also been getting results directly to the person who got the test within 24 hours.
According to George, Valley Medical converted its physician office lab to a reference lab in order to perform COVID-19 testing, but had to optimize its software in order to report everything MDH requires. He said that process that took a couple of months.
The samples from Valley Medical span two weeks, and the remaining 14,000 test results still need to be processed, according to MDH. That means the case counts coming from MDH for the rest of the week and early next week could be abnormally high.
KARE 11 has reached out to MDH for further comments.
MDH also reported 13 new deaths related to COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total death count to 1,806.
The number of people hospitalized in Minnesota due to coronavirus as of Thursday is 305, with 139 of those people in the ICU.
- MDH reports 14 new COVID-19 deaths, second-highest since June 19
- Minnesota cases linked to Sturgis now at 35
- Walz announces new saliva-based testing lab coming to Minnesota
- Experts credit masks for decline in cases across the U.S.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 14 new deaths from the coroanvirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total death count in the state to 1,793.
The single-day death count has only been higher than 14 twice in the past month, when it hit 17 on Aug. 19. The most recent high before that was 17 deaths on June 19.
MDH also identified 542 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. The total positive cases over the course of the pandemic has reached 71,236.
As of Wednesday, there are 304 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 134 of them are in the ICU.
People ages 20-24 continue to grow as the age group with the largest number of cases, with 9,166 confirmed positive tests, well above the next-largest group of 7,258 cases among people ages 25-29.
Hennepin County has the most cases in the state with 22,044, followed by Ramsey County with 8,783 cases.
KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what businesses are open as the state slowly lifts restrictions. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11.
The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.