Minnesota officials on Monday reported four more deaths from COVID-19, putting the total at 1,384 since the pandemic began. That daily increase in deaths, however, was the lowest in more than two months.
While total current hospitalizations rose from Sunday, rolling averages continue to show a steady decline in hospitalizations over the past month.
The number of Minnesotans needing intensive care — a closely watched metric as officials try to manage the spread of the disease — continued to fall to levels not seen since early May.
As they keep watch on the COVID-19 trends, officials are increasingly concerned that people with serious health problems who need emergency room care are not going to the emergency room to get that care because of COVID-19 concerns.
It’s especially worrisome for people who might be suffering heart attacks, strokes or low blood sugar, said Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, citing national data showing double-digit decreases in emergency room visits for these kinds of cases.
"We don't want to see deaths among people who are not accessing care,” she said.
State health leaders are also increasingly concerned that people — especially children — are not keeping up with regular vaccinations because of concern over COVID-19.
“We’ve seen a drop-off in children up-to-date on vaccines because parents are not taking them in because they’re not coming to well child visits,” Ehresmann said.
Of the 33,227 cases of COVID-19 confirmed since the pandemic began, about 87 percent of people have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.
Among those who’ve died, nearly 80 percent were living in long-term care or assisted living at the time; nearly all those who’ve died had prior health problems.