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Live updates: Minnesota Department of Health reports 551 new cases

Here is the latest data from Minnesota's battle against COVID-19, and the effort to vaccinate every state resident against the virus

Wednesday, July 29

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 551 bringing the cumulative total to 612,001.

Three more people died, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,663 since the pandemic began. Health officials say 4,502 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Credit: KARE 11

Officials say a total of 151 people are currently hospitalized and being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis. Of those patients, 57 require ICU care. Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 33,265. 

Credit: KARE 11

MDH says 5,886,797 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,146,721 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (68.6%). Of that number 2,989,960 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated.

Credit: KARE 11

Fourteen counties in the state are considered to be at substantial or high risk for transmitting COVID-19, and new CDC guidance recommends even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in these areas.

Wednesday, July 28

  • Minnesota reports 625 more cases, four more deaths
  • MDH recommends schools follow CDC mask recommendations
  • DFL lawmakers urge their GOP colleagues to help stop COVID disinformation
  • Mayo vaccinologist says 4th COVID surge "entirely predictable"
  • Ehresmann: 75% of new MN cases are Delta variant\

1 p.m.

A day after the CDC reversed its course on indoor masking, Minnesota health officials said Minnesota teachers, students and visitors should mask up in schools this fall - even if they're vaccinated. 

These recommendations are no longer mandated, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials said in a Wednesday press release. Rather, the guidance is meant to "support local school boards and school leaders as they make decisions for the upcoming school year."

READ MORE: Minnesota health officials: Schools should follow CDC mask guidance

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 625 bringing the cumulative total to 611,458.

Credit: KARE 11

Four more people died, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,660 since the pandemic began. Health officials say 4,502 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Credit: KARE 11

Officials say a total of 146 people are currently hospitalized and being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis. Of those patients, 56 require ICU care. Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 33,225. 

Credit: KARE 11

MDH says 5,876,029 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,139,861 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (68.4%). Of that number 2,985,227 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated.

Credit: KARE 11

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health is planning to hold a news conference call Wednesday afternoon to discuss school guidance.

Tuesday, July 27  

Health officials across the state have recorded 1,032 new cases of COVID-19 in the past three days along with three deaths, including one person in their 20s.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) no longer shares data on weekends, so numbers released on Tuesdays reflect reports from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday. The new infections bring total COVID cases to 610,839 since the pandemic began.

Three more people have died from the virus, one in Hennepin County, one in Isanti County, and a person in Ramsey County who was between 25 and 29 years of age. MDH says nine people in that age grouping have died of COVID, along with six between 20 and 24.

Credit: KARE

Hospitalizations continue to trend upwards, with 168 people currently being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis. Of those patients 51 require ICU care. Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 33,150. 

MDH says 5,870,709 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,136,633 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (68.4%). Of that number 2,983,368 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated.

Credit: KARE

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters Tuesday that they are keeping an eye on vaccination rates and hoping they soon reach 70% for people with one dose. Health officials across the country have said they anticipate demand for vaccinations will increase after a major slowdown, due to the threat posed by the Delta variant.

Monday, July 26

3 p.m.

Minnesota health officials briefed reporters on the COVID-19 situation for the first time since June 2, saying rising case numbers, especially those involving the Delta variant, are reason for concern. Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann recently said Delta infections account for 75% of the state's new COVID-19 cases.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said many COVID-19 metrics, like test positivity rate, are "comfortably" below the caution threshold. However, she said they're rising quickly enough to make health officials wary.

Malcolm also stated that hospital bed use for COVID-19 patients has increased in recent days, while the state's vaccination rates have remained fairly stable. 

Health officials have their eyes on a 70% vaccination rate in those 16 and older, but Malcolm said that's a milestone -- not an end goal. She said the vast majority of people showing up to the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. As of July 15, she said 99.9% of fully-vaccinated Minnesotans have not contracted COVID-19. 

Malcolm said cases have begun to increase again after a persistent decrease. After reaching lows below 100 in previous weeks, Minnesota's new cases have risen into the 200s, 300s and 400s. 

Malcolm cautioned that Minnesota has not reached "herd immunity," especially with several areas lagging in vaccination rates. 

"We don't want to give the virus opportunity to continue to evolve in ways that could in the future be more troublesome," she said. She encouraged people who can get vaccinated to do so -- especially if they plan to join large gatherings like the Minnesota State Fair. 

Asked if MDH plans to implement vaccination mandates for state or health department employees, Malcolm said there's nothing to announce today. She said health officials are in the "analysis phase," and there's no specific planning. 

Ehresmann was asked what makes the Delta variant so widespread. She said Delta concerns officials because of its rapid rise -- it's "taking over" compared to the original virus. 

Ehresmann also answered a question about Delta and kids who are too young to get vaccinated. She said children are more likely to pull through in general, but that colleagues in higher-transmission states have seen more serious cases in kids with the Delta variant. 

Asked about nationwide concerns about Johnson & Johnson vaccines expiring, Malcolm said MDH has been watching the situation closely. To minimize loss, she said MDH uses older supplies first. Ehresmann added that Minnesota hasn't been able to order new Johnson & Johnson vaccines in recent weeks.

RELATED: CDC expected to backpedal on some masking guidelines

11 a.m.

Editors note: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) no longer shares COVID data on weekends. Numbers shared Monday reflect activity reported from Thursday at 4 a.m. through 4 a.m. Friday. Weekend COVID activity will be included in Tuesday's numbers. 

Both new cases and hospitalization numbers continue to trend higher, a concern for state health officials eyeing what appears to be a resurgence of COVID-19. 

Data shared by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Monday shows 424 new infections across the state of Minnesota, bringing total COVID cases to 609,810.

Credit: KARE

Hospitalizations are up over the 150 mark after dropping below 100 in recent days. The latest posting by MDH shows 153 people being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis, with 39 of those patients requiring ICU treatment. In total, 33,106 people have been hospitalized with COVID since the start of the pandemic. 

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm and MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann will hold a COVID briefing with reporters at 3 p.m. Monday to discuss case numbers and the growing presence of the Delta variant. Ehresmann told KARE 11 last week that around 75% of the new cases in Minnesota involve the Delta, which is considered more transmissible and according to some studies, results in more severe symptoms. 

Three more people have died from the effects of COVID, bringing Minnesota's total lives lost to 7,653.

Credit: KARE