New COVID-19 infections in Minnesota have risen back to the ‘high-risk’ category, but other pandemic measures suggest that the omicron BA.2 sub-variant driving the recent rise may be less of a threat.
Last week, the number of new infections increased by nearly 40 percent from the first week of April. Minnesota now records a weekly average of 10.9 new infections per year. 100,000 inhabitants, just above the rate used by state health authorities to determine if growth in cases is ‘high risk’.
In addition, the 1,742 new infections reported Tuesday from last weekend were about 30 percent higher than the previous Tuesday. But despite the rise in cases, Minnesota is nowhere near the record numbers the state recorded in January when the original omicron variant hit the state.
On the other hand, the targets for serious illness – hospitalizations and deaths – remain low, even with the most recent increase in cases. But both of these are lame indicators and tend to rise days to weeks after the state sees a bump in infections.
There are 226 patients admitted, including 21 in critical condition. It is estimated that 5,360 people with active cases return home.
There were also four more COVID-19 deaths reported on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 12,472. Those whose deaths were reported ranged in age from the 40s to the late 80s, and all four lived in private homes.
State health officials continue to urge residents to get vaccinated, saying it is the best way to avoid a serious illness. Vaccine protection decreases after five months, and boosters are recommended for all 12 years and older.
Breakthrough cases are also on the rise, representing about 37 percent of the more than 1 million cases diagnosed since vaccination began. Breakthrough infections too now dominates state hospitalizations and deathssomething health authorities say is not unexpected as the majority of the population has been vaccinated.
Minnesota has administered 9.6 million doses of vaccine including 2.2 million boosters. About 66 percent of the state’s 5.7 million people have completed their first series of shots, but only about 57 percent of those originally vaccinated have received a booster.