Minnesota’s pandemic death toll passed 5,900 on Sunday, with state health officials reporting another 40 deaths.
But averaged over the past seven days, most key COVID metrics continue to move in an encouraging direction as the state begins its third full week of 2021.
Over the past week, Minnesota has been averaging about 1,421 new cases each day. That’s down from 2,307 one week ago — and it’s the lowest that number has been since Oct. 15.
The state is averaging about 31 deaths a day over the past week, and the average test positivity rate is now just below 4.6 percent.
At the same time, the average number of new COVID-related hospital admissions has been ticking upward the past few days, to about 86 a day. Despite the recent rise, that number is still lower than a week ago.
About 517,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been shipped to Minnesota so far, including the federal program for long-term care facility vaccinations, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard website; nearly 185,000 Minnesotans have received at least one dose so far.
State health officials said Sunday that 35,800 people in Minnesota have received both doses.
The latest updates came after Minnesota officials excited about expanding the pool of people eligible to get the vaccine got a jolt Friday, when they learned the federal government doesn’t have the supplies it promised to do the job.
State health leaders on Thursday had given the OK to hospitals and other health care providers to vaccinate a wider group of Minnesotans, including people age 65 and older and those most susceptible to the disease after the Trump administration urged states to immediately expand eligibility.
The feds were believed to have doses stockpiled and ready for release to the states. But the bottom fell out of all those plans Friday.
Federal officials confirmed a Washington Post report that vaccine reserves were gone, making it extremely unlikely that Minnesota or any other state will see its allocation jump anytime soon.
That’s left Minnesota officials angry, and reevaluating their own plans.
“I have been frustrated at times beyond belief, but this one is so far beyond the pale to be almost unimaginable. And I’m going to call it,” Gov. Tim Walz told reporters Friday.
“Where did they go? Who’s going to be prosecuted for this?” Walz asked aloud. “What are the states to do when they’ve been lied to and made all their plans around this?”
Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:
5,927 deaths (40 new)
446,380 positive cases (1,364 new), 427,468 off isolation (about 96 percent)
6.2 million tests, 3.1 million people tested (about 55 percent of the population)
4.6 percent seven-day positive test rate (officials find 5 percent or more concerning)
Cases spread across age groups, regions
People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 85,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 45,000 among people ages 20 to 24.
The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 34,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.
Although less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.
It’s of particular concern because people can have the coronavirus and spread COVID-19 when they don’t have symptoms.
A relatively small bump in new cases has been happening across the state.
Hot spots continue to pop up in rural counties relative to their population.
Caseloads still heaviest among people of color
In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.
Even as new case counts ease from their late November, early December peaks, the data shows people of color continue to be hit hardest.
Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.
Similar trends have been seen among Minnesota’s Indigenous residents. Counts among Indigenous people jumped in October relative to population.
Developments around the state
Inflammatory illness tied to COVID ID’d in 56 MN kids
A worrisome inflammatory condition believed to be related to COVID-19 has surfaced in 56 Minnesota children since the pandemic began, state epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said Thursday.
Minnesota is seeing more cases now than last fall, Lynfield told reporters.
While the count is small — 56 out of more than 72,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in children ages 19 and younger — the inflammatory condition has disproportionately hit children of color harder. Sixty percent of the Minnesota cases identified were Black or Latino children, Lynfield said.
— MPR News Staff
65 or older? What you need to know about the vaccine: The state says health care providers are now allowed to vaccinate people 65 and older, and those who have underlying health conditions — if they have extra doses. The announcement appears to be the first step in following new federal guidance on who should be next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Drug overdoses spike, stretching help even further: When all the data is in, 2020 is likely to be the deadliest year in American history for drug overdoses. Preliminary federal and state numbers show that the COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for people who use drugs to stay alive and healthy. It’s also taxing the advocates and organizations who work to keep them safe.
Minn. lawmakers to Walz — where are the shots? Minnesota legislators are pressing state officials to speed up Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccinations. Gov. Tim Walz says kinks in the federally managed distribution system are the main holdup.
COVID-19 in Minnesota
Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health’s cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.
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