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Live updates: More than 40% of Minnesota's population at least partially vaccinated

The latest developments on COVID-19 spread and vaccine progress in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Sunday, April 4

  • MDH not updating COVID-19 data Sunday due to holiday observance; updates resume Monday
  • After cases surged above 2,500 for first time since Jan. 4, new cases dip to 2,075
  • More than 40% of Minnesota's population at least partially vaccinated; more than 25% fully vaccinated
  • MDH releases new guidance relaxing assisted living dining, socializing policies
  • Case positivity rate rises to 5.4%
  • New community vaccination site opening in Oakdale

In observance of the Easter and Passover holidays, MDH said it is not reporting new COVID-19 data on Sunday. Updates will resume Monday, April 5. 

Saturday, April 3

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 2,075 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, along with 11 new deaths.

MDH's COVID-19 case definition includes both antigen testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Positive PCR test results are considered confirmed cases, while positive antigen test results are considered probable cases. 

Saturday's new case total includes 1,801 confirmed cases and 274 probable cases. 

As for the state's vaccination effort, MDH reported Saturday that 1,770,231 people in Minnesota have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 40.1% of the population. Of that group, 1,129,858 are fully vaccinated -- about 25.6% of the population. 

Credit: KARE

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 526,267, with 30,847 of those as antigen test results.

MDH says 11 new deaths from the virus were reported. The total number of fatalities in Minnesota is 6,875.

To date, 27,553 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 5,660 of them needing care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 503,024 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate.

Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 51,679 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 46,912 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,292 out of 6,498 diagnosed cases.

In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 120,004
cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 109,663 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.

A total of 40,565 cases involved exposure in a congregate care setting,
8,320 were in a corrections setting, and 1,219 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 20,326 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.

MDH says 36,700 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 15,377 diagnosed COVID-19 cases. The source of transmission for 174,093 cases is still unknown or missing.

MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers. However, now MDH is urging anyone who is symptomatic or even asymptomatic to be tested. Testing locations can be found online.

Hennepin County has had the most COVID activity in the state with 109,503 cases and 1,652 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 45,574 cases and 841 deaths, Dakota County with 39,955 cases and 409 deaths, and Anoka County with 36,046 cases and 409 deaths.

Full data, including a breakdown of PCR and antigen test totals in some categories, can be found on MDH's website.

Friday, April 2

New cases of COVID-19 continue to trend upwards, with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recording 2,553 new infections in the last day. That's up from the 2,140 reported Thursday, and in recent days health officials have expressed concern about cases rising above the 1,500 mark.       

Top health officials have attributed the jump in cases to new variants of the virus that have come to Minnesota, particularly the B.1.1.7. 

"We are deeply concerned about the increasing number of cases and hospitalizations that are occurring. The accelerating trends are on par with what we saw just before the big surge in the fall. The difference now is that we are making daily progress with vaccines to help us fight a surge. Each vaccination gets us one step closer to ending this pandemic and we're making great progress every day. While 25% of all Minnesotans are now fully vaccinated, there is still a ways to go. That's why it is so important for all of us to keep doing those things that make a big difference: wear masks, keep social distancing, avoid large gatherings, adhere to other restrictions that are still in place, get tested, stay home if you're ill or test positive, and roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated as soon as you can," said MDH Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann.

Friday's new cases are the highest number reported since Jan. 4, when 3,148 were documented. The new cases are based on results from 50,517 tests (41,246 PCR, 9,271 antigen) processed in private and state labs. That is a fairly high testing volume. 

Health experts consider a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered probable. 

On Thursday's MDH media briefing, Ehresmann told reporters that case positivity rate has risen to 5.4%, putting it in the "caution" category. 

The rising rate of current hospitalizations has also been mentioned as a concern by MDH in recent days. As of Thursday, 439 people were being treated for COVID in hospitals across the state, 112 of them in ICU. Bed availability across the Twin Cities is down for both ICU and non-ICU spots, with just 2.5% of non-ICU beds open for patients (94 beds). The number of ICU beds open are listed at just 34 (4.9% open).

Credit: KARE

Total hospitalizations are up to 27,476 since the start of the pandemic, with 5,651 requiring ICU care. 

Four more Minnesotans died from coronavirus, bringing total deaths to 6,864. 

The latest data available on the state vaccine dashboard shows Wednesday was a busy day for vaccinations, with 52,167 doses being administered to Minnesotans. That helped bring the number of state residents who have received at least one immunization to 1,720,811, an even 39% of the state's 5.6 million residents. The number of people considered fully immunized (having completed the two-shot series) is up to 1,088,327, 24.7% of Minnesota's population. 

Credit: KARE

Young adults ages 20 to 24 remain the most active group when it comes to COVID infections, with 51,497 cases and four fatalities. The group most impacted by COVID deaths is those between 85 and 89, with 1,291 deaths in 6,494 diagnosed cases. 

Hennepin County, the most populous county in the state, reports the most COVID activity with 109,060 cases and 1,648 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 45,433 cases and 841 deaths, Dakota County with 39,789 cases and 409 deaths, and Anoka County with 35,883 and 407 fatalities. 

Credit: KARE

Thursday, April 1

2 p.m.

Due to improving overall COVID infection numbers at long-term care facilities, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is upgrading guidance to allow residents and their families more freedom in open dining and activities. 

MDH Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann says people at assisted living-type facilities who are fully vaccinated can now dine and take part in activities like cards and socializing at distances less than 6 feet if fully masked. 

She said MDH made the change due to lower numbers of COVID-19 cases in assisted living facilities, and higher vaccination rates of residents. 

Ehresmann also discussed revised CDC recommendations that now allow residents of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities to leave for trips or visits of less than 24-hours, regardless of vaccination status, without quarantining when they return. 

For more on the new guidance visit the MDH website. 

Ehresmann did express concern at the rising number of cases reported Thursday (2,140) and a case positivity rate of 5.4, which is in the caution range. 

State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield told reporters that the state is continuing to see the spread of variant COVID strains, especially the B.1.1.7 virus, which is thought to have started in the United Kingdom. She says this variant is thought to be 50% more contagious, and in the U.K has shown to have a 64% higher death rate for those who contract it. 

Lynfield said strains other than B.1.1.7 seem to not respond to conventional treatments and therapies, and antibodies from people who have had the virus may not neutralize those variants. 

RELATED: Duluth hospital in country's first 'real-world' study of COVID-19 vaccines

11 a.m.

For the first time since Jan. 10, new daily COVID-19 cases passed the 2,000 mark. On Thursday, MDH reported 2,140 new cases Thursday along with 12 new deaths.

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 521,667, with the total number of deaths now at 6,860. 

To date, 27,404 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 5,635 of them needing care in the ICU.

Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 51,252 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 46,478 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,290 out of 6,486 diagnosed cases.

Credit: KARE 11

Hennepin County has had the most COVID activity in the state with 108,453 cases and 1,647 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 45,298 cases and 841 deaths, Anoka County with 35,666 cases and 407 deaths, and Dakota County with 39,508 cases and 409 deaths.

RELATED: Vax Facts: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

According to the most recent statewide data from March 30, so far 1,682,545 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a vaccine, about 38.1% of the population. In Minnesota, 1,057,848 people have completed their vaccine series.

Credit: KARE 11

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