MinnPost provides 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
The Centers for Disease Control on Tuesday recommended that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in places where cases of COVID-19 are surging. The agency is also recommending that students and staff — regardless of vaccination status — wear masks in schools.
According to the New York Times, federal health officials changed guidance at least in part in light of research that suggests even vaccinated people can be infected by COVID-19 and with the Delta variant, potentially harbor large viral loads in their noses and throats, which means they might spread it to other people.
In a media briefing Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health expressed concern about the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.
Officials said the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, believed to be both more transmissible and more severe, now makes up about 75 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state.
While reports of breakthrough cases — those occurring in people who are fully vaccinated — have prompted concern, MDH officials said Minnesota data show the vaccines remain effective, with breakthrough cases in-line with what would be expected from a highly effective vaccine. The state has tracked fewer than 3,900 breakthrough cases.
According to KARE 11’s Jana Shortal:
- Of 1,626,557 Pfizer recipients in Minnesota, there have been 2,074 documented breakthroughs (0.13 percent of recipients)
- Of 1,125,919 Moderna recipients in Minnesota, there have been 976 documented breakthroughs (0.09 percent of recipients)
- Of 266,975 Johnson & Johnson recipients in Minnesota, there have been 813 breakthroughs (0.30 percent of recipients)
Officials said 99.9 percent of Minnesotans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have not been infected with the virus. Still, with cases rising, specifically Delta cases, “the more transmission you have, the more pressure it puts on situations where perhaps someone may not have developed breakthrough disease but if you are in a soup of COVID it puts a lot more pressure on your immunity,” Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said.
Also Monday, Ehresmann said vaccinations may not be authorized for children under 12 until late 2021.
At the national level, Biden administration officials increasingly believe COVID-19 vaccine booster doses may be needed for people who are older or immunocompromised, the New York Times reported. MDH officials said Monday that no third dose recommendations will come until the Food and Drug Administration weighs in on them.
Sanford Health, the Veteran’s Administration and the Mayo Clinic announced forms of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the past week. California is requiring proof of vaccination or weekly testing for state government employees and health care workers in both public and private healthcare facilities, and New York City is requiring its employees to be vaccinated or be tested weekly.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 2,434 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between July 21 and July 27, for an average of 348 new cases per day. That’s up from a 219 new case daily average the week prior. 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 average share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests — is 2.7 percent, up from 1.8 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota reported 17 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 12 reported the week prior. (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 are rising in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 51 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 117 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 25 were in intensive care and 84 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 56.4 percent of Minnesotans, (3.14 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 53.6 percent of Minnesotans (2.98 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 55.9 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 53.3 percent 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
- Doctors Worry That Memory Problems After COVID-19 May Set The Stage For Alzheimer’s, NPR
- Your Vaccinated Immune System Is Ready for Breakthroughs, the Atlantic
- At the F.D.A.’s urging, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are expanding their studies of children 5 to 11, New York Times
- ‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’: Alabama doctor tells unvaccinated, dying COVID patients, al.com
- What Vaccinated People Should Really Know About the Delta Variant’s Threat to Them, Slate