(FOX 9) - Minnesota recorded nine new deaths from COVID-19 Monday, the lowest number in two weeks, as the state's death toll from the disease rose to 731, according to the latest data from the Minnesota Department of Health.
There were 705 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 16,372.
Of the 731 Minnesotans who have died, 595 resided in assisted living facilties. Residents of long-term care facilities now account for approximately 12.3 percent of Minnesota's positive COVID-19 cases, but more than 81 percent of deaths.
MDH also reported nine probable deaths, meaning COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate, but there was no positive test.
There are currently 488 patients hospitalized for the coronavirus, with 229 of them in the intensive care unit. The youngest COVID-19 patient in the ICU is a less than one-month-old infant. Nearly 13 percent of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases have required hospitalization.
Approximately 66 percent of patients confirmed to have COVID-19 have now recovered and no longer need to self-isolate.
TESTING CONTINUES TO INCREASE
State and private labs reported 6,001 completed tests in a 24-hour period Monday.
Last month, Gov. Tim Walz announced a “moonshot” project with the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to boost the state’s testing capacity to 20,000 tests per day within three to four weeks.
Everyone with symptoms is now eligible for a test and 127 testing sites have been set up around the state.
FOUR COUNTIES STILL WITHOUT CONFIRMED CASES
Eighty-three of Minnesota's 87 counties now have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Cook, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods and Stevens are the only counties that have yet to report a confirmed case, although health officials say the virus is likely circulating in every Minnesota community, whether a county has a confirmed case or not.
MDH confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Minnesota on March 6. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.
The state has launched an online dashboard where the public can find data regarding COVID-19 testing, supplies and more. It can be found here.
MDH has three hotlines for questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hotline for health questions is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.
The hotline for community mitigation (schools, childcare, business) questions is also open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number to call is 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.
The hotline for housing questions is 651-296-8215 for single-family residences and 651-297-4455 for multi-family residences. The hotline is staff Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The state has also launched a helpline for people to report incidents of bias or discrimination resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The number to call is 1-833-454-0148. Translation and interpretation services are available.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SICK
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
Some recent studies have also suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscles aches, headache, sore throat or diarrhea. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and you can manage them at home, MDH says you do not need to go to the doctor or get tested. Instead, you should do the following:
Wash your hands often
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Avoid sharing personal household items like dishes, towels, bedding, etc.
Clean surfaces you touch often
If your symptoms worsen or you notice any of the emergency warning signs (trouble breathing, ongoing pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or not being able to wake up, bluish lips or face), call your health can provider right away.
People are advised to call their doctor or clinic before going in, if possible. They will give you instructions to help protect you and other patients.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID-19
The CDC and MDH recommend Minnesotans do the following to protect themselves and their loved ones and limit the spread of COVID-19:
Stay home and avoid gatherings with people outside of your household
Keep 6 feet of space between yourself and other people when you do go out
Wash your hands often
Cover your coughs and sneezes
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
Clean surfaces that you touch often
The CDC is now recommending people wear face masks in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain such as grocery stores and pharmacies as well as in areas that are seeing significant community transmission of the virus.
Wearing a mask can not only prevent you from getting sick, but also helps people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.