ST PAUL, Minn. — Friday, Aug. 6
- Minneapolis Public Schools to require students, staff to mask up beginning Aug. 9, St. Paul Schools to consider similar measure
- Vikings QB Kirk Cousins calls vaccination status a private matter
- $100 incentive now available to Minnesotans who get vaccinated
- M Health Fairview, Allina Health, Children's Minnesota requiring employees to get vaccinated for COVID
Data released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows new cases of COVID once again spiking over the 1,000 mark, a symbol of the renewed vigor of the virus.
The new daily infection count of 1,012 brings Minnesota's total COVID cases to 617,788 since the start of the pandemic. Those cases are based on results from 24,276 tests (20,639 PCR, 3,637 antigen) processed in private and state labs.
A positive PCR test is considered a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered probable.
MDH said earlier this week that patient sampling indicates at least 81% of the new cases are linked to the highly-transmissible delta variant.
Six more people have perished from the virus, bringing Minnesota's total COVID fatalities to 7,694. Two of those deaths occurred in Hennepin County, while Chippewa, Dakota, Goodhue and Ramsey each lost one resident. All those who died were in their 70s, 80s or 90s.
Daily COVID hospitalizations remain steady, but are more than double the numbers from mid-July. As of Thursday 267 people were being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis, with 80 in ICU.
Minnesota is approaching a milestone of nearly 6 million doses of vaccine administered (currently 5,953,483). The state vaccination dashboard says 65.9% of eligible state residents ages 16 and older have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (3,014,748 people). MDH says 3,191,200 residents have received at least one dose, 69.4% of those eligible.
Thursday, Aug. 5
New cases of COVID dropped slightly, but the numbers remain a serious concern for state health officials as more and more public entities and businesses invoke new masking restrictions to guard against the fast-moving delta variant.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 878 new infections Thursday, down a bit from the 936 recorded Wednesday. MDH spokesman Doug Schultz says sampling indicates that at least 81% of new cases involve the delta virus, which seems to be impacting children and the unvaccinated the most. Those new cases bring the state's total cases to 616,784 since the start of the pandemic.
Studies have shown that the delta variant is transmitted much faster and easier than the original virus, and State Health Commissioner Jan Malcom said earlier in the week that it also is triggering more hospitalizations.
That assertion is supported by MDH numbers that show 270 people hospitalized with COVID as of Wednesday, 81 of them in ICU. That's a big jump from mid-to-later July, when hospitalization number hovered around 100. The total number of patients treated for COVID in hospitals since March of 2020 is now up to 33,538.
Five more lives have been lost to the virus. Those deaths involved people in their 70s and 80s from Becker, Isanti, Mille Lacs, Ramsey and Stearns Counties.
While public health officials have been offering incentives and urging vaccinations for those who have not been immunized, data from the MDH dashboard does not show a sharp increase. As of Tuesday 3,183,305 people age 16 and older are at least partially vaccinated (69.2%), with nearly as many, 3,011,093 of those eligible, considered fully immunized (65.8%).
Health officials say 128,818 children between ages 12-15 have received at least one shot.