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
Hospital officials in Minnesota continue to warn people that their systems are overloaded with patients and short on staff. In a full-page advertisement in the Star Tribune, leaders at nine of the state’s hospitals, including North Memorial, CentraCare, Allina Health, Hennepin Healthcare and Mayo Clinic urged people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot, wear a mask even if vaccinated, socially distance, get tested if feeling sick and encourage others to do the same.
“Our emergency departments are overfilled, and we have patients in every bed in our hospitals,” the letter says. “This pandemic has strained our operations and demoralized many people on our teams. Care in our hospitals is safe but our ability to provide it is threatened.”
On Wednesday, long-term care providers said a survey of the industry found more than 76 percent of facilities are limiting admission because of staffing shortages. In rural areas, more than 90 percent were limiting admissions.
Meanwhile, nearly 10,000 Minnesotans have now died of COVID-19. The state has reported 9,964 deaths since the pandemic began.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 24,005 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Dec. 8 and Dec. 14 for an average of 3,429 new cases per day. That’s down from a 4,725 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 from 11.5 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
As of the week beginning Nov. 7, the most recent data available, Minnesota had confirmed 116,237 breakthrough COVID-19 infections, representing about 3.5 percent of more than 3.3 million fully vaccinated people in the state. MDH reports 4,701 people with breakthrough cases have been hospitalized and 839 have died. Vaccines are highly protective against severe cases of COVID-19, and the rate at which vaccinated people have been hospitalized or died after contracting COVID-19 is far lower than for unvaccinated people.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota added 265 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, down from 317 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.)
As of Tuesday, 352 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 1,284 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 335 were in intensive care and 1,286 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here. While cases are down slightly, hospitalizations tend to lag behind, meaning a rise in ICU patients reflects earlier increases in cases.
The most recent data show 66.5 percent of Minnesotans, (3.70 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 62.2 percent of Minnesotans (3.45 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 66.1 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 61.3 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
- Yes, breakthrough infections happen. But vaccination still massively decreases the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19
- Just how bad is the staffing problem at Minnesota’s long-term care facilities and hospitals?
What we’re reading