Coronavirus infections have risen back above Minnesota’s high-risk threshold, but health officials hope COVID-19 immunity levels will limit the number of cases that result in hospitalization or death.
Minnesota has, for the first time in two months, identified more than 1,000 infections in a single day, despite the growing popularity of home-fast antigen COVID-19 tests not included in state inventories. The 1,003 infections among samples collected on April 13 drove Minnesota’s COVID-19 case rate to 12 per. 100,000 inhabitants, above the threshold of 10, indicating significant viral spread.
People are eager to move on from the pandemic, but should still take precautions such as keeping up with vaccinations and wearing masks on public transport – whether mandatory or not, said Dr. Dimitri Drekonja, a specialist in infectious diseases at Minneapolis VA. Medicinal Center.
“[The] the message needs to shift from “we move on” to “we are better off but still at risk and can get better,” he said in a post on social media.
Admissions already increased in response to the reversal in infection rates from 183 on April 10 to 215 on Wednesday. However, only 24 of the COVID-19 admissions required intensive care, and the daily number has been declining since mid-December.
Minnesota reported three more COVID-19 deaths Thursday, but the death toll has not risen in response to the recent rise in infections. Vaccinations and unprecedented infections during the omicron COVID-19 wave in January have left many Minnesota residents with at least temporary immunity, reducing the risk of serious illness.
Re-infections have also increased over the last two weeks, indicating that immunity may be declining. 119 reinfections were identified from samples collected on April 13 – more than 1 in 10 of the COVID-19 cases identified on that date. In total, Minnesota’s more than 1.4 million known infections include 64,260 reinfections. The state’s COVID-19 death toll is 12,482.
A BA.2 coronavirus subvariant remains responsible for the small but steady increase in COVID-19 activity in Minnesota over the past month. BA.2 was found in 84% of the positive COVID-19 samples analyzed through genomic sequencing in the week ending April 9, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Health published Wednesday. That is an increase from 61% a week earlier.
Sewage sampling in the twin towns has also found an increasing amount of viral material, and that more of it consists of BA.2. Updated results from the Metropolitan wastewater treatment plant will be presented on Friday.
COVID-19 vaccination activity has increased in Minnesota, with 71,962 doses administered in the week beginning April 10 – up from 17,511 in the week beginning March 20.
However, the state remains firm at 49% in the number of Minnesotans 5 and older who have been updated with COVID-19 vaccination – meaning they have recently completed the initial series or received scheduled boosters to maintain immunity.
The increase in vaccine administration is mainly among people receiving other boosters, which were approved by the federal authorities at the end of last month. Other boosters are allowed for people who are 50 years and older, have weakened immune systems or have only received the less effective Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
All Minnesota counties are listed with low COVID-19 risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning no one has recommendations for broad public indoor mask wearing to reduce viral transmission. That CDC risk determination is based on a combination of local infection and level of hospitalization.
Only 27% of Minnesota’s residents wear masks in public most or all of the time, according to COVIDcast survey datadown from 63% on top of the omicron pandemic wave in mid-January.