Minnesota health officials said Thursday that the recent protests in the Twin Cities most likely will lead to an increase in positive coronavirus cases in the state.

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm on Thursday, May 28, encouraged protesters who gather in public "to please just be mindful of the risk, and that risk can be reduced" by social distancing and wearing masks.

"We fully recognize," Malcolm added, "how difficult that would be in a situation like this."

The state's top health official later affirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state are likely to rise from demonstrations this week in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death while being arrested by Minneapolis police.

"I don't have any quantification of it," Malcolm said. "But we would expect that gatherings of the size that are expected, under the conditions that we're experiencing, would very predictably accelerate the spread."

The number of Minnesotans who have died from COVID-19 jumped by 35, the state reported on Thursday, the highest one-day jump yet. Twenty-seven of the deaths were among residents of long-term care.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health announced 42 new cases of COVID-19, most of which come from the state's hotspot and largest metro area, Fargo and Cass County.

Fifty-seven North Dakotans, including 46 residents of Cass County, have now died from the illness that has claimed more than 101,000 lives nationwide.

Thirty-six of the new cases Thursday came from Cass County. The county now has 1,632 known cases, but the department reports more than 65% of the infected residents in the county have recovered. Nearly four in five currently infected North Dakotans reside in Cass County.

The other six new cases Thursday came from Burleigh, Grand Forks, Richland, Traill and Ward counties.

South Dakota

As of Thursday, South Dakota has added four COVID-19 positive cases for a total of 1,037.

Four more people have been hospitalized since Wednesday, bringing the total of current hospitalizations to 105.

The number of deaths remained at 54 in the state.

Wisconsin

The state Department of Health Services reported Thursday a total of 16,974 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. That's an increase of 512 cases from Wednesday.

According to health officials, 550 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday, Wisconsin Public Radio reported. DHS officials said 220,719 negative tests for coronavirus, an increase of 10,114 from Wednesday to Thursday.

Around the region

  • Duluth-Superior Pride Festival, an annual event held at Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park during Labor Day weekend, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, its committee announced in a news release Thursday.

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