As the statewide stay-at-home order to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus expires, hospitalizations and testing for the illness remain steady, while newly diagnosed cases jump.
As of Sunday, May 17, more than 220 Minnesotans are being treated in intensive care units for the virus and almost 500 people are hospitalized for the illness, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
MDH also announced Sunday 699 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 22 additional deaths from the illness. This comes the day before some restrictions on businesses are lifted along with the stay-at-home order.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines advise states not to ease restrictions until new diagnosed cases drop for 14 straight days.
The number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases announced Sunday is the largest single-day spike in more than a week. So far, 15,668 cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, with 722 deaths attributed to the illness. As of Sunday, 9,571 people with the illness have recovered and no longer need to be isolated.
For the fourth consecutive day, more than 5,000 tests for the virus were conducted across the state. Gov. Tim Walz has said that being able to conduct 5,000 tests for the virus per day was a key prerequisite for rolling back restrictions. He said that testing capacity would help state and local health officials to identify and respond to outbreaks.
More than 150,000 people have been tested for the illness statewide since March 5.
According to MDH, about 80% of the people who get the COVID-19 virus experience relatively mild symptoms; about 5% who get it will need critical care that could include ventilation. Other factors, including chronic health problems, can lead to serious or fatal complications from the illness. Of the 722 people who have died from the illness in Minnesota, 587 were in long-term care or assisted-living facilities.