The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday, May 8, reported the number of test-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state climbed to 10,088 and deaths from the illness and its complications reached 534. Twenty-five of the 26 people whose deaths were reported Friday resided in long-term care facilities.

In total, 101,270 have been tested for the illness and 473 remained in the hospital Friday with 198 in intensive care. Another 5,697 had been able to leave isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

With deaths from the disease expected to climb as the state approaches the peak in cases, state officials said they were preparing a facility to store the remains of Minnesotans who succumb to the illness and its complications.

Officials said they are poised to make a $7 million purchase to secure a warehouse facility to temporarily house the remains of those who die of COVID-19.

Gov. Tim Walz and state health and emergency response officials declined to disclose where the facility was housed, but said the acquisition was aimed at preventing the need for mass graves or other makeshift morgue facilities.

Social distancing requirements in the state have delayed funeral services, in some places filling up funeral home and hospital morgue capacity, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly said. And the state sought to get ahead of a situation where human remains would exceed existing capacity.

"We need to have a capability, we need to have a plan for a large number of deaths," Kelly told reporters. "We want to provide a facility where we can properly, safely and with the appropriate dignity and respect that we think we owe our fellow Minnesotans and their families to temporarily store them until their families are ready to lay them to final rest."

North Dakota

North Dakotans no longer will have to isolate themselves if they travel back from other states in the U.S., Gov. Doug Burgum announced Friday.

The announcement relaxes an executive order that required those coming back into the state from around the U.S. for 14 days. However, the Centers for Control Disease and Protection recommends U.S. domestic travelers limit travel to essential trips, Burgum said.

The amendment to the executive order comes the same day that North Dakota reported two more people, both in their 80s, died after contracting coronavirus. The state Department of Health said Friday a woman from Cass County and a Grand Forks County man, both of whom had underlying conditions, died after tests confirmed they had the virus. That brings the total death count to 33.

Burgum also amended another order to expand the number of days required for those who test positive to quarantine for 10 days, as opposed to the previous guideline of seven days.

South Dakota

South Dakota saw an increase of 239 positive confirmed cases in one day, according to the South Dakota Department of Health, for a total of 3,144 positive cases in the state.

There are 1,044 active cases as of Friday, May 8, an increase of 198 from Thursday.

The state reported 2,069 recovered patients, up 41 from Thursday.

The state has 76 patients in the hospital. Overall, 247 people have had to be hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Deaths from the virus remain at 31, with no new deaths reported Friday.

Wisconsin

A total of 9,590 positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wisconsin on Friday, according to the state Department of Health Services. That's an increase of 375 cases from Thursday.

According to health officials, 384 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Friday.

Around the region

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Native Americans and people of color in Minnesota disproportionately hard, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. Black Minnesotans comprise 6.6% of the state's population but have made up 17% of all test-confirmed COVID-19 cases. Hispanic people make up 5.5% of the state's population and almost 14% of the state's confirmed COVID-19 cases. And around one in four Native Americans and about one in three black Minnesotans experiencing homelessness in the state tested positive for COVID-19.
  • A drug in clinical trials to treat COVID-19 is soon to be available for use in Minnesota. Officials said Gilead, the manufacturer of Remdesivir, donated supplies of the drug to the federal Department of Health, and federal officials are working to distribute the drug to state departments of health.
  • North Dakota has received a Batelle decontamination system to sterilize N95 respirator masks. It is being installed in Bismarck. Trained staff also are coming to North Dakota to operate the containers.
  • South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has sent letters to state tribal leaders demanding that checkpoints be removed from state and U.S. highways. If the checkpoints are not removed within the next 48 hours, the state will take necessary legal action.
  • Sanford Health deployed a mobile testing laboratory for COVID-19 in South Dakota. The mobile testing laboratory will be used to administer and process tests in emerging high-needs areas. The first use of the mobile laboratory was to be held Friday at the Sanford Worthington (Minn.) Clinic, where more than 100 local residents who work with the elderly population were to be tested for COVID-19.

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