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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz and state health officials today shared some positive news concerning the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says universal testing, additional staffing, and added supplies of personal protective equipment have helped greatly lower the number of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents and people living in other long-term care facilities. Malcolm says, in early May, the health department was receiving an average of almost two dozen reports each day of new COVID-19 cases from long-term care facilities in the state. That number has now dropped to about a half-dozen per day.

Governor Walz stressed that it is not a "victory lap" but the statistics tracked by the state indicate Minnesota is faring better than many other states in its response to the pandemic. He says the numbers suggest the state could be reaching a new plateau with the number of COVID-19 deaths much lower and hospitalizations appearing to be stabilizing at a lower level. Walz acknowledged the number of new coronavirus cases has been rising but he also noted the positivity rate has been fairly stable at a level a little under five percent.

The Minnesota Department of Health today reported just over 350 new COVID-19 cases were detected by the approximately 9600 tests that were completed yesterday. 14 of the new cases were found in Olmsted County. The state received reports of three coronavirus related deaths, while 266 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 112 of the patients are in intensive care units.

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