The number of Minnesota residents in need of hospital treatment for COVID-19 has fallen sharply in the past month as the recent rise, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant, slowed.
There are now 60 percent fewer patients admitted with COVID-19 than there were a month ago. Hospital capacity continues to improve across the state, though it remains challenging in the Twin Cities subway.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported 633 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 104 in critical condition. One month ago, 1,566 patients were admitted.
The number of positive tests and new infections per per capita, both have also dropped dramatically. Test positivity has fallen below the threshold of 10 percent high risk, and the number of new cases, now at 39.4 per. 100,000 inhabitants, has fallen about six times.
Both measures are likely to be even lower because the state delays its reporting by a week or more to allow for data corrections. A further 2,012 infections were reported on Tuesday, a figure that is current through February 18 due to holiday delays.
But Minnesota’s rate of COVID-19 deaths remains high, with another 32 COVID-19 deaths reported Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 11,993 since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. The most recent people who died ranged in age from their early 40s to their 90s.
Sixteen of those whose deaths were reported Tuesday lived in long-term care, 15 lived in private homes and one lived in a behavioral health center.
Health authorities maintain that vaccines with a booster dose are the best way to avoid a serious illness and slow down the spread of coronavirus. But breakthrough cases continue to grow and now account for 37 percent of infections since vaccination began.
Of these breakthrough cases, 9,537 have been hospitalized and 1,680 have died. Of the more than 3.5 million Minnesota residents who are fully vaccinated, about 10 percent have reported a breakthrough infection.
The state has administered 9.3 million vaccine doses including 2.1 million boosters. About 70 percent of the eligible population, 5 years and older, have completed their first vaccination series.