Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Thanksgiving wave is on the rise – Community News

Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Thanksgiving wave is on the rise

3 things to know:

  • 1,621 currently hospitalized, 335 in ICU

  • 36,260 known active cases, near 2021 high

  • 75.5 percent of residents aged 12 years and older with at least 1 shot of vaccination

Updated 1:34 PM

State officials worried for weeks about a possible COVID-19 bounce from the Thanksgiving holiday, which brought many indoors for celebrations — the kind of circumstances that lead to more viral spread. That seems to be happening.

Tuesday’s health department figures show that known, active cases have surged higher in the past week. The percentage of COVID tests that come back positive is up about 10 percent in the past week, twice as high as the 5 percent officials find.

Newly reported COVID cases have averaged more than 4,700 per day over the past seven reporting days. Last week, that average was around 3,600.

Tuesday’s numbers don’t paint a clear picture of where the pandemic is headed next. Signs last week that the disease may be fading were overshadowed by news that the omicron variant of COVID-19 has surfaced in the state.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm described the discovery of the ommicron as a wake-up call. “While we may feel like we’re done with the pandemic,” she said, “it’s certainly not done with us.”

Hospital admissions and intensive care cases remain high. Bed counts that dropped below 100 in mid-July jumped in late fall; 1,621 people are now hospitalized with COVID and 335 require intensive care.

The latest health department report shows there are no staffed adult ICU beds available in the Twin Cities metro area and western Minnesota, with only one bed available in central Minnesota and three in all of northeastern Minnesota from Monday. The counts are considered a “snapshot” of the previous day’s availability.

Hospital directors across the state say COVID-19 patients combined with other health care needs have been overwhelmingly understaffed care centers.

Hospitals in this wave are seeing more people who need treatment for other illnesses, along with people who haven’t received care in the past year and a half. Some are stretched to the point where military personnel are on the ground at Minnesota hospitals in St. Cloud, Minneapolis, and Edina.

The current wave, driven largely by the highly contagious delta variety, has been particularly severe on greater Minnesota. Data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows all Minnesota counties currently having high levels of virus transmission.

Last week, the number of known, active COVID cases in the state fell to 27,435, its lowest point in three weeks. By Monday, however, it had risen again to 36,260, near its 2021 high.

The state’s death toll stands at 9,699, including 45 newly reported deaths on Monday.

Deaths usually follow a rise in the number of cases and hospitalizations. In previous COVID-19 waves, this was the last of the key metrics to improve.

The state now appears to be in a better position than it was during its fall 2020 and spring 2021 peaks. More than 75 percent of the state’s residents aged 12 and older have received at least one shot of vaccination, and more than 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 the first shots in more Minnesotans. Large gaps in vaccination coverage remain between regions and provinces.

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