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Walz: State now able to give 20,000 virus tests daily

ST. PAUL — Minnesota reported 10 more deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, the same day state officials said they had reached their goal of being able to test as many as 20,000 people a day.

Gov. Tim Walz set the daily testing goal two months ago, calling it at the time a key for the state to successfully manage the pandemic. Walz touted a partnership between the state, Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to build out the capacity.

The three partners have used the capacity to supplement testing done by more than 265 health care organizations around the state, the governor’s office said, including pop-up testing at the sites of potential local outbreaks including in Minneapolis and St. Paul after large protests following George Floyd’s death.

“We know when Minnesota comes together as one, we can achieve near-impossible tasks,” Walz said. “I am proud of the Minnesota Department of Health’s partnership with Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota, and our state’s health systems to expand our testing capacity, allow us to more accurately track the course of the infection, and keep all Minnesotans safe.”

“We can now provide testing for all Minnesotans who need it,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “The testing command center allows us to monitor daily needs and coordinate rapid responses to outbreaks. Testing is a critical first step to preventing the spread of the infection.”

In southwest Minnesota, total positive cases held steady according to the Minnesota Department of Health records. Lyon County added one case and its total stands at 295. Meanwhile, Lincoln County added two cases with its total rising to 9. Yellow Medicine County has 27 cases and Murray County is at 50.

Six of the 10 deaths announced Monday were residents of long-term care facilities. Two were jail or prison inmates. Six were in people age 70 or older.

The state reported 315 new confirmed cases of the virus.

The number of people requiring hospitalizations and hospitalizations in intensive care both continued a downward trend that dates back to late May.

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