Here are the latest developments with COVID-19 spread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the effort to vaccinate state residents.
ST PAUL, Minn. — Monday, Feb. 8
- Gov. Walz announces new COVID-19 community vaccination site in Rochester
- Feds to ship COVID vaccine direct to pharmacies this week
- More than 550,000 Minnesotans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose; nearly 10% of population
- Minnesota has 18 cases of two new COVID variants
- Advocates for people with disabilities ask Minnesota for vaccine priority
Governor Tim Walz has announced another COVID-19 community vaccination site, this one in Rochester.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, the “large-scale, permanent site” will launch this week, joining two others of its kind in Minneapolis and Duluth. Officials said the site will serve about 1,500 Minnesotans 65 and older.
The three sites are part of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program. Officials said more than 220,000 Minnesotans have registered for the state’s COVID-19 vaccine registry for those 65 and older.
While announcing the new site, Walz continued his push for more vaccine doses from the federal government.
“We still need more supply, but we have to be ready when the federal government ramps up to meet the demand,” Walz said in the release.
He said later this week, the state plans to release information on “a permanent tool for Minnesotans to sign up for information about vaccination opportunities.”
Data released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflects a drop in new COVID-19 case numbers, but recorded testing volume is also relatively low, which is often the case on weekends.
MDH recorded 564 cases of coronavirus in the past day, based on results from 18,567 tests (17,863 PCR, 704 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.
Monday’s cases are more than 300 lower than cases reported Sunday, but Sunday’s numbers were based on more than 9,000 more tests processed.
Deaths dropped Monday, with three people losing their lives to the virus. That’s the first time deaths have been in single digits in nearly a week. State fatalities now sit at 6,302 since the pandemic began.
A federal announcement that vaccine shipments will be sent out to community pharmacies this week should provide another boost to vaccination numbers. As of Saturday the state’s vaccine dashboard was reporting 556,482 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, with 158,763 of those people having completed the two-shot series.
Providers report administering 86% of the vaccine they’ve received within three days time, inching closer to the 90% goal set by Gov. Tim Walz in a recent directive.
The vaccine dashboard says nearly 10% of state residents have now received at least one dose of vaccine.
The number of hospital beds being used statewide to treat COVID patients is holding fairly steady. As of Sunday, 330 beds were filled with coronavirus patients, 80 of them in the ICU. Bed occupancy remains tight in the Twin Cities metro, with just 144 non-ICU beds (3.9%) not in use.
Total hospitalizations have climbed to 24,780 since the start of the pandemic, with 5,105 patients requiring ICU care. MDH says 454,290 people who at one time tested positive for COVID have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.
Minnesotans in their 20s make up the largest group of the state’s coronavirus cases. Those 20 to 24 account for 46,978 cases and three deaths, while their counterparts ages 25 to 29 have recorded 42,088 cases and six deaths. The group with the most COVID-19 fatalities are those ages 85 to 89, with 1,196 deaths in 6,132 diagnosed cases.
Hennepin County reports the highest amount of COVID activity with 97,297 cases and 1,550 deaths, following by Ramsey County with 41,779 cases and 780 deaths, Dakota County with 34,741 cases and 371 deaths, and Anoka County with 32,255 cases and 375 fatalities.
Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has recorded the least COVID activity, holding steady with just 116 diagnosed cases since the pandemic hit.
New cases dipped back below 1,000 Sunday, and close to 10% of Minnesota’s population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A total of 554,102 people in the state have received at least one dose. Out of that group, 156,638 have received both doses. As there is a several-day delay in releasing vaccination data, these numbers are valid as of Feb. 5.
As for other COVID-19 data, today’s newly-reported cases and deaths both fell since Saturday. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 914 new COVID-19 cases, along with 10 new deaths.
MDH’s COVID-19 case definition includes both antigen testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Positive PCR test results are considered confirmed cases, while positive antigen test results are considered probable cases.
Sunday’s new case total includes 774 confirmed cases and 140 probable cases.
RELATED: What are the different types of coronavirus tests?
The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 468,118, with 21,047 of those as antigen test results.
MDH says 10 new deaths from the virus were reported. That pushes the total number of fatalities in Minnesota to 6,299.
To date, 24,745 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 5,101 of them needing care in the ICU.
MDH reports that 453,225 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate.
Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 46,945 cases and three deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 42,051 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,196 out of 6,127 diagnosed cases.
In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 102,839 cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 95,449 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.
A total of 38,502 cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting,
7,874 were in a corrections setting, and 992 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 18,421 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.
MDH says 31,879 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 14,441 diagnosed COVID-19 cases. The source of transmission for 157,721 cases is still unknown or missing.
MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers. However, now MDH is urging anyone who is symptomatic or even asymptomatic to be tested. Testing locations can be found online.
Hennepin County has had the most COVID activity in the state with 97,160 cases and 1,549 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 41,742 cases and 780 deaths, Dakota County with 34,695 cases and 371 deaths, and Anoka County with 32,221 cases and 375 deaths.
Full data, including a breakdown of PCR and antigen test totals in some categories, can be found on MDH’s website.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.