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
As the delta coronavirus variant continues to surge across Minnesota and the nation, more governments and businesses are implementing — or considering — mandates requiring vaccines or masks.
University of Minnesota officials said Monday the school will require vaccines for students as soon as the federal government fully approves them. Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday he hoped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would give that final authorization by the end of August. Right now, the COVID-19 vaccines are being administered under what’s known as an Emergency Use Authorization.
The Associated Press reports that as more colleges require vaccines for students, school officials are worried about people buying up fake vaccine cards.
Also locally, the Minnesota State Fair is mulling an indoor mask mandate.
Nationally, the U.S. Military plans to require its troops to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, backed a vaccine mandate for teachers across the country.
Top U.S. and global medical experts say COVID-19 vaccines are safe and extremely effective at preventing hospitalization and death from the disease and also will prevent most mild cases of coronavirus. The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated, and governments frequently require vaccines for other diseases. For instance, military members can get as many as 17 different vaccines in some circumstances, according to the AP, and Minnesota public schools require children be vaccinated against diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, chickenpox and more.
Some politicians and other officials have still objected to vaccine mandates, saying the government shouldn’t force people to make a medical decision they don’t want to. Texas has also banned mask mandates in schools and Arkansas instituted a ban on all mask requirements. But Texas’ rule has been challenged in court and a judge in Arkansas temporarily blocked that state’s regulation. Education Minnesota President Denise Specht said “any mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine must be locally negotiated.”
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health said it would release data weekly on “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases, which are when someone who is fully vaccinated contracts COVID-19.
The state says it has identified 5,599 people — of nearly 2.95 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans as of July 11 — who got COVID-19. Of those people with known breakthrough cases, 514 have been hospitalized and 57 (0.002 percent) have died.
Data from MDH show the state added 5,601 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10, for an average of 800 new cases per day. That’s up from a 593 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 4.9 percent, up from 4 percent the week prior. The case-positivity average has increased significantly over the last three weeks, and is now just below a 5-percent threshold the state considers a concerning sign of disease spread.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota reported 27 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 22 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 continue to rise sharply in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 92 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 241 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 75 were in intensive care and 173 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 57.8 percent of Minnesotans, (3.21 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 54.4 percent of Minnesotans (3.02 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 57 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 54 had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.
This week on MinnPost
- MinnPost’s COVID-19 dashboard