3 things to know:
5,277 newly confirmed or probable cases; 43 newly reported deaths
25,623 known active cases, 1,159 currently hospitalized
75.3 percent of residents 16 years and older with at least one vaccine dose
Updated 1:48 PM
The COVID-19 burden on hospitals in Minnesota is growing rapidly again as the state grapples with a summer-fall wave that refuses to back off.
Newly reported cases are trending at their highest level in 2021 – an average of 3,400 per day over the past seven reporting days. Active cases also peaked in 2021 – 25,623.
The percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive was more than 8 percent, according to calculations by MPR News, higher than the 5 percent officials consider to be a concern and an important signal that transmission of the virus is accelerating.
“We’ve been in a really alarming spike in cases in the last few days,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters on Wednesday, adding that the current surge is due in part to declining vaccine immunity in some who are diagnosed early in the year. were vaccinated.
Hospital admissions are currently a major problem.
The number of beds had passed 1,000 by October, putting enormous pressure on staff-scarce health systems.
Hospital admissions have gone back and forth over that threshold since then, but Wednesday’s Minnesota Health Department report found that 1,159 people had been hospitalized with COVID — a 17 percent increase from Friday — and 257 requiring intensive care.
“We are currently seeing the highest number of patients with COVID-19 in our hospitals since last December. And many of our hospitals are at or near capacity.” said Wednesday.
Bed numbers had been roughly evenly distributed between Minnesota and the Twin Cities region for weeks, but the latest numbers show hospitalizations are now rising faster in the metropolitan area.
Governor Tim Walz announced Wednesday that another emergency crew of 14 Minnesota National Guard members and nine federal nurses will treat patients at the Brainerd facility to help ease hospital capacity in central and northern Minnesota for up to 34 patients from area hospitals. to include.
State officials also pleaded with Minnesotans to exercise caution and precautions against the spread of the disease as Thanksgiving and other year-end celebrations approach and children return home from college.
“We don’t want to miss the holidays, but at the same time, we don’t want to be the person who passes a potentially fatal disease to a loved one,” said Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director.
“We want to make sure that we mask, that we test as appropriate, that we take (social) distancing when possible and wash our hands,” she added.
As the numbers go up and down, Wednesday’s data shows Minnesota’s COVID-19 surge is stalling at relatively high levels. State health leaders continue to beg Minnesotans to remain vigilant and get vaccinated, warning that another wave is possible.
Driven by the highly contagious delta variant, the entire state, with the exception of Lake of the Woods County, is showing high levels of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state’s death toll stands at 8,925, including 43 new deaths reported Wednesday. Deaths usually follow a rise in cases and hospitalizations. In previous COVID-19 waves, this was the last of the key metrics to improve.
Minnesota now appears to be better positioned than it was during its fall 2020 and spring 2021 peaks. More than 74 percent of state residents ages 12 and older have received at least one shot of vaccination, and nearly 71 percent is now fully vaccinated.
The state is seeing progress in getting booster shots in Minnesotans who are already vaccinated.
However, the battle continues to get more Minnesotans vaccinated. Large gaps in vaccination coverage remain between regions and provinces.
“This spike is bad, it’s scary, but it would be so much worse … if it weren’t for so many Minnesotans having the vaccine,” Malcolm said.
When asked why the surge is happening now, given the relatively high level of vaccination in the state, Malcolm acknowledged that part of it appears to be that the immunity levels of people vaccinated early in the year seem to be declining.
“We think it’s just a confluence of factors,” she said of the ongoing wave of fall. “It’s the combination of declining immunity in those who are vaccinated first. It’s the easing of mitigation…there’s a lot more (disease) circulating without masking.”
Listen to Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing from state leaders on public health:
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations fuel clarity in our reporters’ coverage across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspective. Help ensure MPR continues to be a resource that brings Minnesotans together.
Donate today. A $17 donation makes a difference.