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
According to an internal health document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obtained by The Washington Post, the delta variant of COVID-19 appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants. The federal document stated that the delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox and that officials should “acknowledge the war has changed.”
Shortly before the revelation in the internal CDC document came new mask guidance from the federal health organization. The CDC last week recommended that vaccinated people wear masks in schools and in indoor public places where the virus numbers are rising. It’s a change in their stance from May when the CDC advised that vaccinated people may forgo masks, indoors and outdoors, in most places.
Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health emphasized that vaccines remain the best defense against getting COVID-19 and being hospitalized with or dying from the disease.
Alzheimer’s disease researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio are studying lingering cognitive problems — like memory loss — experienced by those who have contracted and survived the worst of COVID-19. Researchers in San Antonio and around the world are trying to learn more about the long-term cognitive effects of COVID-19, and determine if the virus changes brain chemistry in a way that elevates the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 4,151 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between July 28 and Aug. 3, for an average of 593 new cases per day. That’s up from a 348 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 4 percent, up from 2.7 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota added 22 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 17 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 had been steadily dropping in Minnesota — until recently. As of Tuesday, 75 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 173 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 51 were in intensive care and 117 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 57 percent of Minnesotans (3,170,942 people) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 54 percent of Minnesotans (3,004,629 people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 56.4 percent of Minnesotans (3.14 million people) had received at least one dose and 53.6 percent of Minnesotans (2.98 million people) had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.
This week on MinnPost
- What the latest CDC guidance on the delta variant and masking means — and doesn’t mean — for Minnesota
- On digesting the latest pandemic news — and the perils of nuanced public health messaging
- Where things stand with COVID-19 booster shots in Minnesota
- MinnPost’s COVID-19 dashboard