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The daily coronavirus update: 22 new cases tied to Brooklyn Center protests

MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann also said the state is seeing evidence that two previously rare variants of COVID-19 are circulating more widely in Minnesota — and aren’t solely tied to people who have traveled.

COVID-19
COVID-19
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 April 29, 2021:

573,938 cases; 7,128 deaths

Fifteen more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday, for a total of 7,128.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Thursday, five were in their 90s, two were in their 80s, four were in their 70s, two were in their 60s, one was in their 50s and one was in their 40s. Seven of the 15 people whose deaths announced Thursday were residents of long-term care facilities.

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The state has reported 280 deaths so far in April. MDH has now announced an average of 10.6 deaths per day over the last week, an uptick from 7.6 reported Monday.

MDH also said Thursday there have been 573,938 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 1,913 from the total announced on Wednesday and is based on 49,418 new tests. The seven-day case positivity average is 6.4 percent. That’s above a 5-percent threshold health officials say represents a concerning sign of disease spread. But the positivity rate has dropped for more than a week from a recent high of 7.4 percent.

As of Tuesday, the most recent data available, 2,507,381 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That’s roughly 45.1 percent of the population and an increase of 29,099 from the day prior. MDH says 1,857,191 Minnesotans, about 33.4 percent of the population, have completed a vaccine series.

Health officials have identified only 1,163 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic among 1,256,342 people who had been fully vaccinated and waited two weeks following their final dose. Vaccines are highly effective, though not 100 percent effective. Even those who get sick after vaccination are much more likely to have mild cases that don’t result in hospitalization or death.

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The most recent data available show 176 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 468 are in the hospital with COVID-19 not in intensive care. Hospitalizations have been declining somewhat lately. On Wednesday, the state reported 178 Minnesotans in the ICU and 465 people hospitalized but not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

More information on cases can be found here.

More than 20 cases with ties to Brooklyn Center protests

MDH infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann told reporters Thursday the state has found 22 COVID-19 cases among people who said they attended protests in Brooklyn Center after Daunte Wright was killed by a former officer in the city.

Ehresmann said 11 of the cases were among demonstrators and 11 were among law enforcement. She said while much of the activity was outdoors, where gatherings are far safer, transmission can still happen outside. Police also likely spent time indoors.

Rare variants spreading, causing high hospitalization rates

Ehresmann told reporters that MDH is seeing evidence that two previously rare variants of COVID-19 are circulating more widely in Minnesota and aren’t solely tied to people who have traveled. People sick with those variants are also experiencing more severe illness, even among younger patients.

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The state has identified 88 cases of the B1351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa. Ehresmann said 19 percent of people found to be sick with the strain have been hospitalized.

MDH has also found 65 people who have contracted the P1 variant, which was first identified in Brazil. About 15 percent of those people have been hospitalized. The B117 variant, which was first identified in the U.K., is believed to be the dominant strain of COVID-19 circulating in Minnesota.

“We’re seeing these variants impacting younger ages, we’re seeing higher case severity and we’re seeing more evidence of domestic transmission,” Ehresmann said.

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MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

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