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Coronavirus in Minnesota: More of the same; is that a good thing?

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) show the state added 3,589 new COVID-19 cases between April 6 and April 12, averaging 513 new cases per day.

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

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

We’ve been saying this for a while, but even as of now, it’s still kind of pretty unclear what’s ahead with BA.2 — the more-transmissible “stealth” omicron subvariant — in Minnesota as elsewhere in the United States.

As we discussed last week, BA.2 is dominant here in Minnesota. In the most recent data from the Metropolitan Council, it accounted for two-thirds of the virus detected in Twin Cities wastewater. The same wastewater data suggest a slow and steady rise in viral presence in the region in recent weeks.

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As far as official case counts go, the number of positive cases is up, too, but hospitalization and death data are flat. So, the question we’ve been asking for weeks remains: How big will this wave be, and will an increase in cases produce as relatively big an increase in hospitalizations and deaths as it did in prior waves?

Under normal circumstances, we might look to the East Coast for clues; East Coast cities have pretty reliably been a couple weeks ahead of Minnesota in terms of COVID-19 surges.

But things are murky there, too. Cases are up, but hospitalizations remain low and deaths are down, the New York Times reports. Those numbers lag behind cases, of course, so it could just be too early to tell if this is the start of a bigger wave or a smaller wave or what.

At-home COVID-19 test reminder: If you haven’t done so already, you can order free tests through the state here.

Cases

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) show the state added 3,589 new COVID-19 cases between April 6 and April 12, averaging 513 new cases per day — up from last week, which saw an average of 420 cases per day.

As of this week, you’ll no longer find the seven-day case positivity average in this newsletter. That’s because a federal reporting change means some labs are no longer reporting negative tests to MDH. The state health agency will discontinue reporting the case positivity average this week.

“The test results data we are receiving is not as complete as it used to be now that certain negative test results are not required to be reported. This is impacting the positivity rate metric, which is not accurately portraying what it should,” MDH spokesperson Andrea Ahneman said in an email explaining the change.

As a result, you’ll also notice our COVID-19 tracking dashboard no longer includes total tests.

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Deaths and hospitalizations

Minnesota has reported 30 COVID-19 deaths since last Wednesday. Last week, the state reported 29 deaths. (Deaths did not necessarily occur in the week in which they were reported because deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.)

COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations are stable compared to last week, while non-ICU hospitalizations have dropped. As of Tuesday, 30 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 160 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 29 were in intensive care and 171 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.

Vaccines

The most recent data show 66.3 percent of Minnesotans had completed a COVID-19 primary vaccine series, while 45.9 percent were up-to-date on their shots (meaning they have completed the primary series and received a booster if recommended). A week ago, 66.3 percent of Minnesotans had completed the vaccine series, and 45.8 percent were up-to-date. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.

This week on MinnPost

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