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The daily coronavirus update: 8 more deaths; Brazil variant detected in Minnesota is first in U.S.

Scientists are studying the variant. So far, it’s not clear that the Brazil variant spreads any faster than other variants of the coronavirus.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from January 26, 2021:

456,490 confirmed cases; 6,106 deaths

Eight more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 6,106.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Tuesday, two were in their 80s, three in their 70s and three in their 60s. Seven of the eight people who died Tuesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Tuesday there have been 456,490 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 727 from Monday’s count and is based on 10,222 new tests. The seven-day positivity average, which lags by a week, is 5.1 percent, down from 5.4 the week prior. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

As of Sunday, the most recent available data, 284,441 people had received at least one of two COVID-19 vaccine doses in Minnesota, and 67,567 have received both doses.

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The most recent data available show 100 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 396 are in the hospital with COVID-19 not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

First Brazil variant in U.S. found in Minnesota

The first documented instance in the U.S. of the Brazil variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 was found Monday in Minnesota. The positive case is a resident of the Twin Cities who became ill in the first week of January and took a test on Jan. 9.

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The state is re-interviewing the person with the Brazil variant to learn more details of their illness and travel contacts, said MDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield in a press conference Tuesday. Though the first case was discovered in Minnesota, it could be in other places in the country, she said. It’s not clear if it spreads more easily than other variants, Lynfield said. She also said both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are designed with a wide range of antibodies in order to anticipate variants, and that both vaccines are engineered to allow for updates.

In order to track variants, it’s necessary that people get tested, said Lynfield, adding it’s also important that people adhere to social distancing measures and quarantining in order to limit the spread of new variants.

More information on cases can be found here.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

MDH’s phone line for COVID-19 questions, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m: 651-297-1304