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Coronavirus in Minnesota: case positivity rate tops 10%; states increase booster access amid infection surge

Minnesota averaged 4,484 new cases  of COVID-19 per day over the last week.

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

MinnPost provides updates each Tuesday covering COVID-19 developments in Minnesota over the previous week.

This week in COVID-19 news

Though the Food and Drug Administration has only approved booster shots for adults who received the Johnson & Johnson shot and those 65 and over who got Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, some states are moving ahead on their own to expand eligibility. 

Last Thursday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, citing the spread and deadly risk of COVID-19, signed an executive order urging all adults who got a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than six months ago to get a booster.

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Since then, California, New Mexico, Arkansas, and New York City have also leapfrogged federal officials to issue recommendations to get a booster. 

Part of the booster push is a response to the more contagious delta variant, which is behind the latest surge of of cases, including in Minnesota. In fact, the state now has some of the worst infection rates in the nation, a worrying trend just as travelers make holiday arrangements

Cases

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 31,387 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between November 9 and November 16, for an average of 4,484 new cases per day. That’s up from a 3,056 new case daily average the week prior, which MDH acknowledged is likely an undercount, and well above the average of 3,609 new cases daily the week before that. 

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 10.3 percent, up from 9.1 percent the week prior, well above the 5 percent “caution” threshold. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.

As of October 10, the most recent data available, there have been 72,628 documented breakthrough infections — people who became infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. That number represents 2.2 percent of fully vaccinated people in the state. 

Among those cases, 3,177 fully vaccinated people have been in the hospital (0.098 percent of fully vaccinated people) and 519 have died (0.016 percent of fully vaccinated people). Unvaccinated people remain far more likely to get sick, be hospitalized or die compared to vaccinated people. More information on breakthrough infections can be found here.

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Deaths and hospitalizations

Minnesota added 165 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 164 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, 307 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 1,041 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 249 were in intensive care and 873 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.

Vaccines

The most recent data show 63.8 percent of Minnesotans (3.55 million people) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 59.9 percent of Minnesotans (3.33 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, MDH reported that 62.9 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 60.0 had completed the vaccine series. (Note: MDH said an error with the way their system accounted for booster vaccine shots caused them to misreport some booster shots as completed vaccine series, which explains the week to week decrease in the full vaccination count.)  More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.

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