ST. PAUL -- Around 239,263 workers in the Minnesota applied for unemployment since March 16, more than applied during the entirety of 2019, according to the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The uptick in applications for the insurance came as Minnesota on Monday reported 73 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the state total to 576 confirmed cases. That figure is considered to be an undercount.

There were 116,438 claims filed for unemployment the week of March 21.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development on Sunday, March 29, issued guidance for unemployed Minnesotans to stagger applications based on the last number of their social security numbers. Officials said they've experienced a wave of applications that has overwhelmed call centers and DEED's website.

Additional information about applying for unemployment insurance can be found on DEED's website at https://uimn.org/applicants/ and those unable to access the internet can call 1-877-898-9090.

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