ROCHESTER, Minn. — On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, over 100 Minnesotans were recorded to have died of COVID-19 on a single day. Due to a delay caused by Thanksgiving, the data recorded on Wednesday was first reported on Friday, Nov. 27.

The 101 deaths in 41 counties reported by state health officials on Black Friday set a new single-day record in Minnesota, the third such record in 10 days, as the popular term for holiday shopping took on new meaning.

The state's 101 deaths Wednesday came a day after a similar record was set in neighboring Wisconsin, which recorded 104 deaths on Tuesday. The figures spurred the following statements from state leadership:

“This Thanksgiving, many Minnesotans set their holiday table smaller than they normally do," said Gov. Tim Walz in a statement. "Many chose to do so to protect their family from the spread of COVID-19. But for the more than 3,000 families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, it wasn’t a choice. Those chairs will always remain empty.

“As we hit this somber milestone, we owe those families a promise," Walz said. "We must promise them that their loved ones did not die in vain. We must honor them by fighting this virus at every turn. We must redouble our efforts to protect one another.”

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"This is a sad development," said State Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm in a statement, "but it is not a surprising development. For weeks we have been sounding the alarm about the dramatic growth in COVID-19 cases. We know that more cases leads to more hospitalizations and deaths, and today’s news reinforces that tragic pattern."

The state has now recorded 3,476 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The deaths included eight each in Stearns and Hennepin counties, and seven in St. Louis County.

One of the deceased in Hennepin County was a person in their 20s, and 66 of the deaths were among residents of long term care or other congregate living. Minnesota added 5,700 cases on Friday and surpassed 295,000 cases total, officials reported.

"Every public activity now is more risky than it was even a few weeks ago, so the best way to slow this spread is for people to stay home and away from gatherings with those outside of our immediate household," Malcolm said.

"This is painful and frustrating, but every day we get closer to having safe and effective vaccines that should help resolve this crisis. We anxiously await that day, and until then we all must do our part to ensure that all of our loved ones, friends and neighbors can celebrate those days with us."

The 101 daily deaths puts Minnesota as one of the deadliest hot spots in the country, on a per capita basis. While the state of New York, population 19 million, reached nearly a thousand daily deaths in April, it has not topped 100 deaths in a single day since the middle of June.

Minnesota has one-fourth the population of New York.

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  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
  • COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.