3 things to know
About 46.5 percent of adults with at least one vaccine dose; more than 31 percent completely vaccinated
Hospital admissions, active case trends highest in months; vaccination trends hit a record high
Health officials say coronavirus variants likely are driving increase in new COVID cases
More than 2 million Minnesotans have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The state passed that milestone in Sunday’s update from the Minnesota Department of Health. That’s just over 46 percent of state residents 16 and older.
More than 31 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have completed their vaccinations.
But as vaccination numbers increase, COVID case counts continue to rise, too. The state has been averaging more than 2,400 new cases each day over the past week — the highest that number has been in more than three months.
Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past few weeks to levels not seen since January, and COVID deaths are trending up, too. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.
But Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said last week that while the increase in cases is concerning, the growing number of vaccinated people in Minnesota means the state likely won’t see a surge in cases of the scope seen in November and December.
Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:
6,957 deaths (13 new)
542,053 positive cases (1,784 newly reported); 95 percent off isolation
46.5 percent of adults with at least one dose; 31.4 percent completely vaccinated
About 84 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose
Sunday’s Health Department data showed nearly 1.4 million Minnesotans fully inoculated. More than 2 million — 2,050,818 — have received at least one dose, including about 84 percent of residents age 65 and older.
The agency reported more than 86,000 additional vaccine doses administered.
The number of known, active cases has been trending upward over the past few weeks, with nearly 19,000 as of Sunday’s report — marking more than three weeks with active daily counts above 10,000.
While still low compared to late November and early December, the rising trend is notable given the worries over the rise of the highly contagious U.K. COVID-19 variant, which state health officials suspect is driving the current upswing.
As of Thursday the state had confirmed about 1,600 cases of the U.K. strain. State epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said it’s linked to five deaths here and likely responsible for the majority of the spread happening now.
Thirteen deaths reported on Sunday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 6,957. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.
The state has recorded 542,053 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,784 posted Sunday. About 95 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.
Regional hot spots bubble
Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. The latest numbers, however, show cases creeping up across the state.
Public health leaders continue to keep watch on clusters popping up over in recent weeks in the southwest Twin Cities metro area as well as Mankato in southern Minnesota, in central Minnesota and around Aurora and Ely in the northeast.
Cases spread across age groups
People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 101,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 52,000 among those ages 20 to 24.
The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 43,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.
With kids increasingly returning to school buildings and sports, Minnesota public health officials are urging Minnesota families with children to get tested every two weeks for COVID-19 until the end of the school year.
Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they will spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations. Those with the coronavirus can spread it when they don’t have symptoms.
Caseloads among people of color
In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.
Even as new case counts continue to track well below their late November, early December peaks, the data shows Latino people continue to be hit hard.
Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.
Officials have acknowledged that distrust by communities of color has been a problem during the pandemic. They’ve offered up some data on vaccinations broken down by race and ethnicity that they’re updating regularly.
COVID-19 in Minnesota
Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health’s cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.
As vaccine eligibility expands, one southern MN health department recalibrates: Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties, a two-county public health department in southern Minnesota, requested 300 doses of vaccine to administer this week. But they’re struggling to fill appointment slots — and dealing with no-shows. So they’re asking the state Health Department to reallocate their share.
COVID-19 deaths of tribal elders leave a void: Native Americans have the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of any population in the U.S. And for tribes working to revitalize language and culture, the loss of elders to COVID-19 leaves an especially painful void.
Even with prospect of aid, Minnesota school budgets in dire shape: The coronavirus hasn’t just upended classrooms around the state — it’s wreaking havoc on district budgets, which are largely determined by enrollment. State and federal lawmakers are considering and passing billions of new dollars in education funding, but Minnesota districts are still laying off staff and closing schools.
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