MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota on Tuesday reported a COVID-19 test positivity rate, 8.3%, the highest in the vaccine era and a level of hospitalization that has gone up since the first shots against the disease in mid-December. Has not been seen.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota reached 960 on Monday and included 254 people who needed intensive care because of breathing problems or other complications. While this past a record 1,864 hospitalizations on November 29, it is the highest in 2021 and combines with trauma and other illnesses to fill 96% of available intensive care beds and 93% of non-ICU beds.
The rising COVID-19 wave, from the rapidly spreading delta version of the coronavirus, is a blow to public health leaders who hoped that vaccination progress would put an end to the pandemic. More than 75% of eligible Minnesotans aged 12 and older have received the COVID-19 vaccine since the first doses were provided on December 14-15 to a group of tribal leaders and nurses in Bemidji at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.
“Delta has changed the landscape for COVID-19,” said state infectious disease director Chris Ehrsman.
The state on Tuesday reported 10 COVID-19 deaths and 7,942 more coronavirus infections, reflecting the pandemic activity identified over the weekend. The totals raise Minnesota’s epidemic totals to 746,768 infections and 8,330 deaths. Nine of the 10 new deaths reported occurred in seniors – despite vaccination rates above 93% in that age group – while one involved a Morrison County resident aged 40 to 44.
Minnesota’s rate of new infections for the past seven days is the seventh worst among US states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the Midwest and Northwest states also seeing increases. Infections in hard-hit states such as Florida and Louisiana have been among the lowest in the country, with delta versions in India and England this year mimicking waves that were severe but of relatively short duration.
Decisive COVID-19 cases are rising in fully vaccinated Minnesotans amid the rise of the Delta variant, which accounts for more than 99% of new infections in the state. The increase may reflect weakened immunity in early vaccine recipients, including seniors and those with underlying diseases who have had a weakened immune system response to shots in the first place.
Its emergence occurred at a low point in the pandemic in mid-June, when mask mandates and social distancing restrictions were largely lifted in Minnesota. The state hit a low of 90 COVID-19 hospitalizations on June 14.
Hospitals in Minnesota continue to report observational findings about COVID-19 patients that match recent vaccine research. While vaccines may lose some effectiveness in preventing any infection, studies show that they remain protective against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The most recent data from Sioux Falls-based Sanford Health showed last week that it had admitted 170 patients for COVID-19 and 12 were fully vaccinated. Of the 32 patients who needed ventilators to breathe enough, only one had been vaccinated.
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