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
Minnesota is gearing up to vaccinate more children after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use by children 5 to 11 years old. A panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still has to weigh in on the shot before it is distributed. That CDC vote is planned for Tuesday.
Gov. Tim Walz released a plan Wednesday to administer vaccines to children under the age of 12, which includes pediatric and family medicine clinics, primary care providers, pharmacies, school districts and extra capacity at the state’s vaccination site at the Mall of America.
On Saturday, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said she tested positive for COVID-19 after her 8-year-old daughter did. Flanagan, who is fully vaccinated, said when they’re fully recovered, she plans to get a booster shot and get her daughter a first dose once they’re authorized. “Like many parents, I’m so grateful that vaccines will soon be available for our 5-11 year olds,” Flanagan said in a Twitter post.
People who are fully vaccinated are much less likely to contract COVID-19, though “breakthrough” cases do happen. Vaccinated people are also far less likely to develop a severe case of the disease or die.
On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health said they know of 8,184 cases throughout the pandemic in the state in which someone who previously had COVID-19 was reinfected. That data was added to the case count released Monday, meaning the roughly 10,400 cases were mostly made up of a backlog, not purely new cases.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the reinfection data is a reminder of the need for people to “continue practicing mitigation, taking steps to slow the spread and getting vaccinated even if they have had COVID-19 in the past.”
“This clearly shows that even if you’ve had COVID in the past and recovered you still are at risk for reinfection,” Malcolm said. “That poses a risk not only to you, but to those around you.”
Health officials said they know of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 at least three times and a small handful may have tested positive more than that, though MDH is still evaluating that data.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 25,266 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Oct. 27 and Nov. 7, for an average of 3,609 new cases per day. However, that includes thousands of “reinfection” cases from throughout the pandemic added Monday. Without those cases, the state added 18,069 cases over the last seven days, for an average of 2,581 new cases per day. That’s still up from a 2,262 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 7.9 percent, which is above the 5 percent “caution” threshold and up from 7.2 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
As of Sept. 26, the state is reporting 57,023 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated Minnesotans. That’s roughly 1.78 percent of the 3,209,369 Minnesotans who were fully vaccinated at the time. Of the 57,023 breakthrough cases, 2,609 people have been hospitalized and 372 have died.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota added 137 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 124 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 are up in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 223 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 755 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 210 were in intensive care and 725 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 62.4 percent of Minnesotans, (3.47 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 59.7 percent of Minnesotans (3.32 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 62.2 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 59.1 had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.