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Coronavirus in Minnesota: Case totals continue to grow as in-person school starts

Between last Tuesday and Friday, the state added an average of 1,882 new cases per day, up from 1,557 new cases per day in the previous week.

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

On Tuesdays, MinnPost provides weekly updates that cover COVID-19 developments in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present.

This week in COVID-19 news

With hospital staff fatigued and cases still growing at an alarming pace, Minnesota remains in a fourth wave of the pandemic as the school year begins this week for many students. One big question that remains as classes start up is how much school will add to case counts, since children under age 12 are still ineligible to be vaccinated, and the very-transmissible delta variant isn’t skipping over kids.

Another question that health officials expect to have some answers to soon: What was the viral impact of the State Fair? Gov. Tim Walz announced Tuesday that 3,118 State Fair attendees got vaccinated at the Fair’s on-site vaccination clinic; 3,042 got a $100 gift card for their troubles.

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While things could be better in Minnesota, they’re worse elsewhere in the U.S.: For the first time in the state’s history, Idaho is rationing medical care in some hospitals, the Washington Post reports, meaning “people needing medical care may have to get treated in hallways or conference rooms that have been repurposed to deal with the overflow, and basic equipment may not be available.” As hospitals become strained in many states President Joe Biden is expected to give a speech Thursday outlining a plan to bring cases down.

The Netherlands are tightening travel restrictions on Americans visiting the country, a move that came after the European Union took the U.S. off its safe travel list.

Cases

Because of the Labor Day holiday, the Minnesota Department of Health has only reported four days’ worth of COVID-19 data since last Tuesday’s coronavirus update. This week’s update covers August 31 through September 3. (Data from Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will be reported by MDH on Wednesday, September 8.) The state added 7,528 new COVID-19 cases in the four days covered, for an average of 1,882 new cases per day. That’s up from a 1,557 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 6.6 percent, unchanged since the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.

As of August 8, the most recent breakthrough case data, the state reported 15,819 of 3,050,905 fully vaccinated Minnesotans had known breakthrough COVID-19 cases (0.5 percent of fully vaccinated people). While vaccines are highly effective at protecting people from contracting COVID-19, they’re not perfect. They do prevent nearly all hospitalizations and deaths from the disease. Of those 15,819 reported breakthrough cases, 957 people were hospitalized (0.031 percent of the fully vaccinated) and 93 people died (0.003 percent of the fully vaccinated).

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Deaths and hospitalizations

Between last Tuesday’s report and Friday, Minnesota added 45 COVID-19 deaths. There were two days with notably high death totals: 22 deaths reported last Thursday and 12 reported Tuesday. In the full week prior, the state reported 36 deaths. (Deaths did not necessarily occur in the week in which they were reported because deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.)

As of Tuesday, 158 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 457 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 164 were in intensive care and 425 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.

Vaccines

The most recent data show 59.9 percent of Minnesotans, (3.33 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 56.3 percent of Minnesotans (3.13 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 59.6 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 55.9 percent had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.

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