Coronavirus in Minnesota: Record number of cases nationwide amid omicron wave

On Tuesdays, MinnPost provides weekly updates that cover COVID-19 developments in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to today.

This week in the COVID-19 news

In early 2022, the omicron variant contributed to an increase in positive coronavirus cases across the country.

The increase in cases in this latest wave has broken records in previous periods of the pandemic.

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Just over a million cases were reported as of Monday – a number likely higher due to people waiting to get tested until after the New Years holiday weekend, but also establishes a new one. record number of cases reported in one day.

Although disconcerting, experts believe that less attention should be paid to the number of reported cases and instead focus on the number of people admitted to hospital. The number of hospitals has not increased in parallel with the deluge of positive tests.

Additionally, although the omicron variant is highly contagious, it has been reported that its effects may be less severe than previous strains of COVID-19, especially on the lungs.

Still, President Joe Biden is expected to be briefed on Tuesday by his COVID-19 response team and, afterward, to make brief remarks on plans to slow the spread of omicron.

In response to strong demand for COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, the Walz administration announced the opening of three new community testing sites, in Anoka, Cottage Grove and North Branch. More information on community testing sites can be found here.

Case

Data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows the state added 34,945 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven days between December 29 and January 4 (there were no reports for New Year’s Eve. New Years), for an average of 4,992 new cases per day. This is an increase from a daily average of 2,882 new cases the previous week. At the height of the pandemic in late November 2020, Minnesota had an average of more than 7,000 new cases per day.

The most recent seven-day average case positivity – or the average share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests – is 12%, down from 8.6% the week before. You can find the seven-day average case positivity here.

As of November 28, the most recent data available, there had been 142,583 documented cases of discovered infections – people who were infected with COVID-19 while fully vaccinated. That number represents 4.26% of the fully vaccinated people in the state. Of these, 5,526 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized (0.17% of fully vaccinated people) and 1,080 died (0.032% of fully vaccinated people). More information on breakthrough infections can be found here.

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Deaths and hospitalizations

Minnesota added 201 new deaths from COVID-19 last week, which was almost identical to 202 deaths the week before. (Deaths may not have occurred in the week in which they were reported, as deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.)

COVID-19-related hospitalizations continued to increase in the last half of 2021 in Minnesota, but have leveled off lately. As of Tuesday, 293 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 1,077 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, they were 335 in intensive care and 1,034 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on current Minnesota hospitalizations here.

Vaccines

The most recent data shows that 67.6% of Minnesotans (3.76 million people) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 63% of Minnesotans (3.52 million people) had completed the series of vaccines. More data on the state’s immunization efforts can be found here.

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