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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Do not expect major changes for Christmas.

That was the response from Governor Tim Walz this afternoon when he was asked if the restrictions on social gatherings imposed for the Thanksgiving holiday would be in force at Christmas. State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says it would likely take another week to determine if the social gatherings that occurred over the Thanksgiving Holiday caused a spike in COVID transmission. Malcolm also acknowledged there have been some hopeful indicators in the daily COVID-19 statistics, but the overall trends for the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are still heading higher and the state remains at a critical point in the pandemic.

The State Health Department today reported just over 5800 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 infections throughout Minnesota, including 150 new cases in Olmsted County. Almost 42,000 COVID tests were completed on Sunday for a daily testing positivity rate of just under 14-percent.

State health officials also reported another 15 coronavirus related deaths, which is the lowest daily death toll reported in the past two weeks. Still, overall hospitalizations remain near the record high at 1448 and the number of Minnesota COVID-19 patients in ICU beds is the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic at 392.

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