New weekend cases are overwhelming state health personnel; few IC beds available – Twin Cities – Community News

New weekend cases are overwhelming state health personnel; few IC beds available – Twin Cities

So many new coronavirus infections were reported to Minnesota health officials this weekend that nearly a quarter went unprocessed Tuesday morning.

The Department of Health had counted 7,173 new infections in time for Tuesday’s 11 a.m. update, and an estimated 2,500 positive tests still had to be processed. A spokesperson for the department said they are working on more staff to deal with the rising number of positive tests to be entered into the state’s databases.

Health officials began releasing new outbreak data only on weekdays during the summer, and that change sparked an influx of new cases on Tuesday mornings from the previous weekend. When the results are released at 11 a.m. each business day, they are generally valid until 4 a.m. the previous business day.

Before this week, the most new cases reported on a Tuesday during the latest surge in late October were nearly 8,000.

The new cases reported Tuesday bring the state total to 826,404 infections as of March 2020 with more than 8,800 infected more than once. That total does not include the 2,500 overdue cases that should be added to the count later this week.

About 96 percent of people infected since the start of the pandemic have recovered enough that they no longer need to be isolated.

The number of positive tests and new cases remains well above the caution thresholds used by health officials to determine whether the pandemic is under control.

Twenty more deaths were registered on Tuesday, bringing the state toll to 8,882. Those reported dead ranged in age from a Ramsey County resident from late 40s to three people in their 90s. Six lived in long-term care and 14 in private homes.

On average, Minnesota reports about 24 deaths each day from COVID-19.

Hospital admissions rose overnight to an annual high of 1,122, including 249 in critical condition. The number of available intensive care beds is declining in much of the state.

Vaccines are considered the best way to prevent serious infection and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Booster shots are recommended for seniors and anyone over the age of 18 with underlying health conditions or other factors that put them at higher risk.

However, breakthrough infections are becoming more common. There are 64,844 breakthrough cases, or 16.2 percent of the more than 401,000 cases diagnosed this year.

There are 2,956 fully vaccinated Minnesotans who have been hospitalized and 483 who have died from COVID-19. Nevertheless, 98 percent of the 3.2 million fully vaccinated residents have not reported a breakthrough.

Minnesota has administered 7.1 million doses of vaccine, including 576,000 booster shots. Nearly 3.5 million Minnesotans have been given at least one chance — about 67 percent of the eligible population.