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
The delta variant continues to surge in Minnesota, pushing hospitalizations and case positivity rates higher than any point since the deadly November and December COVID-19 wave.
With that in mind, Gov. Tim Walz last week asked Minnesota lawmakers to take up a list of pandemic response policies, such as new regulations for hospitals and nursing homes. Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said the many requests from Walz is “not productive” for finalizing and passing a deal to distribute bonuses to frontline workers.
COVID-19 cases tied to K-12 schools remain high, according to the Star Tribune. On the Iron Range, a group of nearly 300 parents sued the Rock Ridge district to try and block a mask mandate, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Walz this week extended until Dec. 29 a program with Sun Country Airlines that offers Minnesotans who get vaccinated at MSP Airport’s Terminal 2 a chance at $200 in a weekly drawing. He also said the state would expand free testing starting Friday at sites in Mankato and St. Cloud and Sunday at sites in Moorhead and Winona. More info on testing locations and hours can be found here.
Nationally, the Food and Drug Administration will start evaluating Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots this week.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 21,317 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Oct. 6 and Oct. 12, for an average of 3,045 new cases per day. That’s up from a 2,756 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 8.3 percent, up from 7.2 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here. The positivity rate hasn’t been this high since mid-December, when the first doses of vaccine were arriving in the state.
As of Sept. 12, the state has reported 38,808 total known “breakthrough” cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated Minnesotans. That’s roughly 1.21 percent of fully vaccinated people. The state is also reporting 1,934 fully vaccinated Minnesotans who have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and another 234 who have died. The vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious cases of COVID-19.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota reported 127 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 94 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 in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 254 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 706 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 220 were in intensive care and 627 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 61.6 percent of Minnesotans, (3.429 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 58.6 percent of Minnesotans (3.26 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 61.2 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 58.1 percent had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.
This week on MinnPost
- Minnesota tax collections continue to outpace projections — even as first signs of delta variant’s effect emerge.
- Why Gov. Tim Walz couldn’t impose a vaccine mandate for Minnesota — even if he still had emergency powers.
- What’s wrong with the claim that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 just as readily as the unvaccinated.
- MinnPost’s COVID-19 dashboard.
What we’re reading
- Merck asks US FDA to authorize promising anti-COVID pill, reports the Associated Press.
- Moderna, racing for profits, has kept its vaccine out of reach for some poorer countries, reports the New York Times.