Minnesota added 31 more deaths to the state’s COVID-19 death toll on Wednesday, one of the year’s biggest one-day highs, bringing the pandemic total to 8,140.
Deaths are not reported in a uniform manner and Wednesday’s deaths include 28 in September, one from August and one from November 2020, Minnesota Department of Health data shows.
Still, the large daily numbers help explain how COVID-19 fatalities, an indicator of an outbreak, continued to rise during Minnesota’s fourth infection.
Earlier this year the state reported twice as many one-day deaths as part of a data clean-up project. Otherwise, the last time the death rate was so high was in January.
Twenty-five of those whose deaths were reported on Wednesday lived in private homes and six were in long-term care. Since the pandemic began, about 57 percent of people with COVID-19 were residents of nursing homes or assisted living.
The state health department also reported 2,077 new coronavirus infections since March 2020, for a total of 708,220. Of those who tested positive, 96 per cent have recovered enough that they no longer need to be isolated.
The number of hospitalizations rose to 800 on Wednesday with 206 in intensive care – the highest since early January when the state was coming out of its worst surge in cases. Hospital beds with proper staff to treat COVID-19 patients are in short supply in parts of the state, including the Twin Cities Metro.
Health officials say almost all new infections are caused by the more contagious Delta variant. School-age children are now the age group with the most new cases.
Only Minnesotans 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, and health officials say vaccines are the best way to prevent serious illness. Breakthrough cases are becoming more common, but 99 percent of the 3.1 million fully-vaccinated Minnesotans have not reported a breakthrough case.
Minnesota has given 6.4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine and about 3.4 million residents have received at least one dose. About 72 per cent of the state’s vaccineable population has received at least one shot.