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Coronavirus in Minnesota: Case positivity rate increases slightly

Deaths were down, and hospitalizations remained stable.

COVID-19
COVID-19
Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

Welcome to MinnPost’s Coronavirus in Minnesota update. Here, you’ll find a summary of the week’s COVID-19 news, followed by a look at case counts, deaths, hospitalizations and other data from the previous week. MinnPost will provide weekly updates on coronavirus in Minnesota on Tuesdays that cover COVID-19 in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present. 

This week in COVID-19 news

Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be at elevated risk developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, the Food and Drug Administration says. About 100 suspected cases of Guillain-Barré, a rare neurological disorder, have been identified among J&J recipients (out of roughly 12.8 million doses of J&J have been administered). Most people make a full recovery from Guillain-Barré, and the FDA says the potential benefits of receiving the vaccine far outweigh the potential downsides.

Also in vaccine news, Pfizer said last week it would seek FDA approval for an additional booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine, citing encouraging data in clinical trials. In a statement, the company said it an additional dose could bolster immunity against more dangerous variants of the virus, including Delta. After a meeting with U.S. officials, Pfizer reps were told more data would be needed to determine whether boosters are needed, the New York Times reported.

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On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance for schools, making “safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021” a priority. The CDC recommends anyone over age 2 who is not fully vaccinated continue to wear masks in schools,  and recommends that 3 feet of social distance be maintained between kids in schools. No vaccines are currently available for children under age 12, but a vaccine for younger kids may be available in the fall.

Cases

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state announced 1,067 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the seven days between July 7 and July 13, for an average of 152 new cases per day (that includes an unusually large day of data due to data lags over the Fourth of July weekend). At the height of the pandemic in late November of 2020, Minnesota averaged more than 7,000 new cases per day.

The most recent seven-day case positivity average — or the share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests — is up to 1.5 percent, after hovering around 1.2 percent for some time. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.

In Minnesota, the Delta variant has gone from making up less than one percent of confirmed cases to making up more than 12 percent now, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said on an MPR segment Tuesday morning.

The Delta variant is not only believed to be more transmissible, but also potentially more severe. While about 5 percent of confirmed cases of the original strain of COVID-19 in Minnesota were hospitalized, that number rose to 7 percent for the B117, or Alpha, variant, and is about 16 percent for Delta, Ehresmann said on MPR.

Deaths and hospitalizations

Minnesota added 12 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, down from 28 the week prior, though it’s worth noting those deaths did not necessarily occur in the week in which they were reported, because deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.

COVID-19 hospitalizations remain steady in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 23 people were in intensive care with COVID-19, while 81 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. A week ago, the numbers were the same. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.

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Vaccines

The most recent data show 55.6 percent of Minnesotans, (3.09 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 52.8 percent of Minnesotans (2.9 million people) had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.

This week on MinnPost

What we’re reading

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the month of the most recent week of case data. It was July.