Here are the latest developments with COVID-19 spread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the monumental effort to vaccinate state residents.
ST PAUL, Minn. — Wednesday, Feb. 3
While new cases of COVID-19 continue to trend lower in the state, data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflects that the virus is still a deadly foe.
An additional 24 deaths from coronavirus were recorded in the last day, bringing Minnesota’s total to 6,234. That is the highest single-day total in nearly a week. Of those deaths 3,946, or 63%, are associated with assisted living or long-term care settings.
There were 669 new cases reported Wednesday, consistent with case numbers in recent days. Those cases are based on results from 21,408 tests (17,319 PCR, 4,089 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health experts consider a positive PCR tests a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case.
Minnesota has now had 463,766 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, 20,392 of those based on antigen tests.
The state vaccine dashboard says as of Monday, 458,651 people had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, with 122,597 having completed the two-shot series. Providers continue to inch closer to a directive laid out by Gov. Walz, asking them to administer 90% of the vaccines they receive within three days. As of Monday the success rate was 82%. Overall, 8% of Minnesotans have received at least one vaccination.
Hospitalization numbers continue to drop, with 379 beds across the state being used to treat coronavirus patients as of Monday. Of those beds, 77 are in the ICU. Bed availability is improving slowly in hospitals across the Twin Cities metro, with 4.2% of non-ICU beds being open for patients, and 7.3% of ICU beds open.
Total hospitalizations due to the virus have climbed to 24,493 since the pandemic began, with 5,065 of those patients requiring ICU care.
MDH says 449,707 people who at one time tested positive have recovered enough that they no longer need to be isolated.
Young adults between 20 and 29 make up the largest group of recorded COVID cases, with 88,277 and nine deaths. That’s nearly one in every five of Minnesota’s diagnosed cases. The largest grouping of deaths continues to be those between 85 and 89, with 1,189 fatalities in 6,065 cases.
Hennepin County has recorded the most COVID activity in the state, with 96,262 and 1,539 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 41,383 cases and 770 deaths, Dakota County with 34,335 cases and 367 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,905 cases and 374 deaths.
Cook County in northeast Minnesota remains the only county in the state with less than 200 total cases (116). Lake of the Woods County is the next lowest with 205 recorded cases.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said Minnesota was still only receiving a small supply of vaccines each week from the federal government. She urged people to be patient with providers due to the very limited supply.
Ehresmann also cautioned Minnesotans about vaccine-related scams. She listed some red flags that mean you’re the target of an attempted scam:
- Asking for information like your social security number or credit card number
- Asking for payment for the vaccine
- Claiming you can have the vaccine shipped to you
Asked whether the state will loosen restrictions for vaccinated Minnesotans, Ehresmann said there are no such plans yet. She added that mitigation measures — like masking and social distancing — will continue to be necessary until 80% of the state’s population is vaccinated.
“That’s what will get us to the end of this,” she said.
Health officials said based on current vaccine availability, it might take around 16 weeks to vaccinate all of Minnesota’s seniors.
Health officials are maintaining a cautiously optimistic tone about the state’s COVID-19 trends.
“Right now, the trend is exceptionally positive,” Ehresmann said.
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The push to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccinations given to state residents appears to be making an impact, according to Gov. Tim Walz and numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Minnesota’s vaccination dashboard says 447,610 people have now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, while 116,928 have completed the two-shot series. In a news release Gov. Walz says the number of vaccinations being administered per day this week is twice the shots given each day last week. He says the increase follows a directive to met a goal that providers should administer 90% of the vaccine supply they receive within 72 hours, and the rest within one week’s time.
The dashboard shows the percentage of vaccines administered in 3-days time at 77%: not the goal, but getting closer. At this point just 8% of Minnesotans have been vaccinated with one dose or more.
“As I said last week, what gets measured gets done,” said Governor Walz. “We still need far more vaccine from the federal government, but we are doing everything we can to get all Minnesotans vaccinated quickly and safely once supply arrives. We have seen good progress in vaccination rates over the past week and we will continue to work tirelessly to get all vaccine we receive into the arms of Minnesotans, crush COVID-19, and end this pandemic.”
On Monday Walz announced that an additional 35,000 doses will be made available this week to Minnesotans ages 65 and older, and launched a statewide vaccine finder to help seniors locate their closest provider.
Data released Tuesday by MDH reflects 633 new COVID-19 cases recorded in the last day, the lowest number since Sept. 22. Those case numbers are based on results from 10,213 tests (9,114 PCR, 1,107 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health officials consider a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case.
Minnesota has reached a total of 463,132 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 20,262 of those cases linked to antigen tests.
Eight more Minnesotans have died from the virus, bringing total deaths to 6,210. Of those deaths 3,933, or 63% of them are tied to long-term care or assisted living facilities.
Total hospitalizations have risen to 24,447 since COVID-19 arrived in Minnesota, with 5,056 of those patients requiring care in the ICU.
MDH says of the people who have tested positive for the virus, 448,595 have recovered to the point they no longer need to isolate.
Young adults make up the largest grouping of Minnesota’s COVID cases: Those ages 20 to 24 account for 46,564 cases and three deaths, while those 25 to 29 make up 41,631 cases and six deaths. State health officials have said that demographic provides unique challenges as they tend to be social, and may not experience symptoms of the virus or know they are sick. That can lead to spreading among more vulnerable populations.
The largest number of fatalities involves 85 to 89-year-olds, with 1,186 fatalities in just 6,055 cases.
Hennepin County has recorded the most COVID activity in the state with 96,097 cases and 1,533 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 41,332 cases and 767 deaths, Dakota County with 34,288 cases and 365 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,867 cases and 372 deaths.
Cook County in northeast Minnesota has recorded the least COVID activity, holding steady with 116 cases and zero fatalities.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.