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Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Deaths, hospital needs stay low as new cases rise

Jul 17, 2021 06:07AM ● By Editor
Black Nurses Rock Minnesota-Twin Cities Chapter president Kelly Robinson, right, vaccinates her son, Dwayne Robinson, during a clinic put on by Black Nurses Rock with Ramsey County inside of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul on March 28, 2021.  Photo: Evan Frost | MPR News File

From Minnesota Public Radio News - July 17, 2021

Minnesota’s newest COVID-19 data shows caseloads edging higher but with no signs of the kind of surge the state saw in mid-April. New daily cases are up, but key metrics continue to hover at relatively low levels.

Officials do remain worried about the growth of the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant among the state’s unvaccinated population — about 1.4 million Minnesotans 16 and older. 

Cases are up among Black Minnesotans, who have a much lower vaccination rate compared to whites or Minnesotans of Asian descent. 

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

Overall, though, conditions remain significantly better compared to mid-April’s surge.

More Minnesotans are vaccinated now — including 9 in 10 residents 65 and older — and the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive averaged about 1.5 percent over the past reporting week, far lower than the 5 percent officials find concerning.

Numbers edge up but still near pandemic lows

Known, active COVID-19 cases in Minnesota came in at 1,462 in Friday’s report. While that count has ticked up recently it is down dramatically since May 1, when Minnesota had more than 15,000 active cases.

Active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Ninety-one patients are in Minnesota hospital beds with COVID-19, with 19 in intensive care. Those counts have stayed relatively steady the past few weeks. 

Given the recent uptick in caseloads, it’s possible that may rise. Still, the current count of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has been hovering near its lowest levels in the pandemic.

Graph of new ICU and non-ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations

Three newly reported deaths on Friday raised Minnesota’s pandemic toll to 7,635. Among those who have died, about 59 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

Minnesota’s reported about three deaths daily over the past week, keeping those numbers down near pandemic lows.

The state’s recorded 607,524 total confirmed or probable cases in the pandemic, including the 249 posted Friday. Roughly 99 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 have recovered to the point where they no longer need to isolate. 

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

Regionally, caseloads are up in the southeast and in east-central Minnesota, as well as the Twin Cities area. Conditions, though, remain far better than during the mid-April wave and the huge late fall surge.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

People in their 20s make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 112,000 since the pandemic began.

Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they can spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.

Vaccination pace crawls

About 3 million residents 16 and older now have at least one vaccine dose. 

More than 2.8 million are completely vaccinated. That’s about 64.8 percent of the state’s 16-and-older population completely vaccinated and 67.8 percent with at least one shot, including 91 percent of people 65 and older. 

Add in more than 114,000 12-to-15-year-olds with at least one dose and Minnesota has topped 3.1 million residents with one or more shots. About 53 percent of the state’s total population is now completely vaccinated. 

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

While Minnesota’s vaccination rate recently showed an uptick, the pace has fallen dramatically since peaking in April and continues to stumble ahead.

At the current pace, it appears it will be late August or early September before Minnesota has 70 percent of residents 16 and older with at least one vaccine dose — a target officials once hoped to reach by July 1.

Graph showing when Minnesota is on target to vaccinated 70 of adults

The vaccination pace is lagging among Minnesota’s Latino, Black and Indigenous populations.

Chart of vaccinations by race

Minnesota’s also seeing big regional gaps in vaccination rates, with most counties outside the Twin Cities region still below 70 percent of adults vaccinated. 

Map of Minnesota COVID-19 adult vaccination rate

Editor's note: With the pandemic largely in check, this is our final "Latest on COVID-19 in MN" story. In its place, we'll be writing a weekly summary story that we'll post on Fridays. You'll still be able to find updated graphics and data on our COVID-19 story collection page. And you can count on us to continue covering the pandemic.

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