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 big news of the last week is that the World Health Organization deemed omicron, a newly discovered strain of COVID-19 first found in South Africa, a “variant of concern” on Friday.
Health officials are encouraging caution — not panic — as scientists try to figure out how big of a threat omicron poses to unvaccinated and vaccinated people. We still don’t know things like whether or not the variant is more transmissible, causes more severe disease or evades vaccines more than other strains of the virus.
“New variants are expected to occur and the most important thing that we can do to prepare is to ensure that everyone 5 years of age and up be vaccinated, and those who are eligible for boosters, receive booster doses,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement Monday.
In other news: The Centers for Disease Control are now recommending booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults. Pfizer is planning to ask the CDC to authorize its booster shots for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 25,002 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between last Wednesday, Nov. 24 and Tues. Nov. 30, for an average of 3,572 new cases per day. That’s down from a 4,225 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 10.6 percent, down slightly from 11 percent the week prior but still well above the “high risk” threshold. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
As of the week beginning Oct. 24, the most recent data available, Minnesota had confirmed 94,671 breakthrough COVID-19 infections, representing about 2.9 percent of fully vaccinated people in the state. There were 3,922 hospitalizations among fully vaccinated people (0.12 percent of fully vaccinated people) and 655 deaths (0.02 percent of fully vaccinated people). More data on breakthroughs here.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota added 153 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, but deaths were not processed on Nov. 25 or Nov. 26, so any deaths that would have been reported those days are omitted. Minnesota reported 182 deaths the previous week. (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 are up in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 343 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 1,189 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 320 were in intensive care and 1,109 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 65.6 percent of Minnesotans, (3.65 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 60.4 percent of Minnesotans (3.36 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 65 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 60.1 percent 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