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Minnesota officials credit National Guard for COVID-19 help in briefing

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Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and health officials updated residents on the state’s COVID-19 response Friday. They highlighted ways the state is working with the Minnesota National Guard to protect residents in long-term care facilities, a demographic that has been hit hardest by the pandemic.

CBS Minnesota reports 2,559 residents in such facilities have died since the outbreak began in March, and about 30% of people in the state who are living in long-term care facilities such has nursing homes have contracted the virus.

Minnesota health officials on Friday reported 5,371 new cases of COVID-19 and 61 more deaths. The state’s total death toll stands at 3,845. 

As of Thursday, 1,679 people were battling COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals, with 367 people in intensive care. Per the state’s Response Capacity Dashboard, more than 100 ICU beds are available in the state. In the Twin Cities specifically, just over 5% of ICU beds are open. However, non-ICU beds in the metro are nearly full, with just over 2% still available. 

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The rates at which the virus is spreading and Minnesotans are being hospitalized have fallen over the last two weeks. Minnesota’s test positivity rate has also declined about 5% from a high of 15.6% in early November.

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