Use of ICU hospital beds for COVID-19 jumps in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The number of Minnesotans receiving intensive care for COVID-19 has jumped by nine, health officials reported Friday, marking the largest single-day increase in more than a month.

The Star Tribune reported that the increase comes as government leaders across the country are taking steps to curb a national spike in new laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases, which are now surpassing 50,000 a day in the U.S.

The Minnesota Department of Health added 423 new confirmed cases and eight additional deaths to its tallies Friday. The state has reported 37,624 confirmed cases altogether.

Minnesota has seen a slowly increasing average number of new daily diagnoses since mid-June, as more young people contract the virus and the median age of infection drops.

The nine additional people in intensive care represented the largest single-day increase in ICU care since May 29. All told, 132 patients are in intensive for COVID-19 in Minnesota, while, the patients in regular hospital beds for COVID care dropped by 13. But the department Thursday reported an increase of 16 regular-bed hospitalizations, a jump not seen since May 28.

The percentage of patients testing positive — about 3.7% — has been gradually rising along with the overall increase in testing in Minnesota. An increasing positivity rate is considered a sign that actual transmission is growing.