Minnesota on Tuesday, Dec. 29, reported 36 new deaths related to COVID-19 and 988 newly reported cases of the illness, according to preliminary numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The numbers bring a measure of hope to a time of uncertainty, as this was the first time in several weeks daily case numbers fell below 1,000.

In the latest report, Hennepin County had the most positive cases at 87, with another 38 probable cases, followed by Pine County at 70 confirmed cases and Ramsey at 60 cases. Also, 106 individuals were newly admitted to the hospital, with 26 being admitted to intensive care.

All but four of the individuals who died were age 60 or older, according to the report. Of the other four, three were listed between the ages of 45-49 years and one between 50-54 years.

The department said all data is preliminary and may change as cases are investigated.

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Cumulatively, Minnesota has reported 411,110 positive cases of the novel coronavirus since March. Of that number, 5,196 have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

In total 5,501,277 individuals have been tested for the illness since March.

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