ST. PAUL — Minnesota added 32 more COVID-19 fatalities Wednesday, Oct. 20, to the state’s total and they ranged in age from as young as their early 40s to their late 90s.

Three of the latest deaths to be reported lived in long-term care and 29 resided in private homes. Thirty of the fatalities occurred in October, one is from September and one is from May.

Deaths are not reported in a uniform way because they have to be investigated before they are added to the state’s death toll. There have been 8,489 COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota since March 2020 with 4,712 of those fatalities in long-term care.

Another 124 deaths are suspected to have been caused by the COVID-19, but the person never had a positive coronavirus test.

Deaths are characterized as a lagging indicator of an outbreak by state health officials. That means deaths tend to rise weeks or months after infections and hospitalizations.

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Minnesota showed a week-over-week decline in new cases for the fourth straight day on Wednesday. However, a few days worth of data does not necessarily constitute a trend, but some of the state’s pandemic measures suggest the state’s fourth surge may be receding.

The 1,858 new infections reported Wednesday bring the state total to 765,761 infections since the pandemic began. Of those, 96% have recovered enough they no longer need to be isolated.

An estimated 17,200 people with active cases are recovering at home. Another 935 are hospitalized, including 240 in critical condition.

Hospital capacity remains tight in much of the state.

Health officials maintain vaccines are the best way to avoid severe infections and to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Minnesota Department of Health released more nuanced data about breakthrough cases for the first time Wednesday.

It shows, about 146 out of every 100,000 fully vaccinated people have reported a breakthrough infections during the week of Sept. 12. Roughly 614 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents have reported a COVID-19 case.

Out of the 3.2 million people who are fully vaccinated, more than 98% have not reported a breakthrough case. There have been 45,827 breakthrough infections reported to health officials and, of those, 2,178 have been hospitalized and 263 have died.

Minnesota has administered 6.6 million doses of vaccine and 3.4 million people have gotten at least one dose. Roughly 73% of eligible residents, age 12 and older, have gotten at least one dose of vaccine.