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Live updates: MDH reports 576 COVID hospitalizations, 1,404 new cases

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

ST PAUL, Minn. — Wednesday, Aug. 25

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Wednesday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 1,404, bringing the cumulative total to 640,459.

Seven more people died, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,782 since the pandemic began. 

Credit: KARE 11

Of the total number of deaths, health officials say 4,540 have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Currently, 576 people are hospitalized and being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis.

Also on Wednesday, health officials reported that 160 people currently require ICU care.

Credit: KARE 11

Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 34,755. 

As of Wednesday at 11 a.m., MDH has not updated their vaccination data.

According to the most recent data from MDH, 6,120,500 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,286,870 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (71.2%). Of that number 3,076,374 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (67.1%).

Tuesday, Aug. 24

2 p.m.

Health officials are holding a media briefing call about the state's COVID-19 situation, including vaccines and the delta variant. You can watch the full call on YouTube.

On the call, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Minnesota has reported 11% more new COVID-19 cases than last week. She said the state's current 7-day average test positivity rate rose again.

Malcolm also noted recent increases in hospital beds used for COVID-19, which rose Tuesday to 547. 

However, she said MDH was pleased to see recent progress with COVID-19 vaccinations. That includes a milestone reached over the weekend: 50% of 12 to 15-year-olds in Minnesota have started their COVID-19 vaccinations. 

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the CDC now recommends masking up in crowded outdoor areas, as well as public indoor areas. She said that's another sign of how the delta variant has changed the situation, and urged people to follow the CDC's recommendations.

She noted that COVID-19 restrictions are less common right now, but said that doesn't mean recommendations are "extra" or "less important." 

"We aren't going to wish away this virus, and delta is particularly good at finding you if you let down your guard," Ehresmann said. 

Asked about the potential for a "superspreader" event stemming from the Minnesota State Fair, Malcolm said fair organizers are recommending masks "very strongly" indoors and in crowded outdoor locations. She asked people to keep their risk levels in mind if they're considering going to the fair, and to limit transmission risk when possible if they do go. 

RELATED: Band pulls out of state fair due to lack of mask, vaccine mandates

Ehresmann added that MDH has seen confirmed transmission from two recent events in the region. WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota was linked to 9 cases, and the latest Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota was linked to 13. She said MDH will be tracking the impact of the fair. 

Ehresmann said if you go to a large, high-risk setting like the fair, getting tested for the virus three to five days later is a "good idea."

Ehresmann was asked whether the delta variant can be transmitted faster than the original virus, which was thought to spread within about 15 minutes. She said while the CDC hasn't changed its guidance, it's likely that the variant's higher viral load could make quicker transmission possible. 

"Delta has changed the landscape," she said. "Keep that in mind as you're considering your interactions." 

Concerns for hospital staffing continue, Malcolm said. She said while there's no statewide data yet, health officials are hearing many reports that staffing is significantly below historic levels.

11 a.m.

As concerns around the delta variant grow, records show that Minnesota's COVID-19 hospitalization numbers continue to rise. 

Updated data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) on Tuesday shows that the number of people in hospitals remained over 500 for the past four consecutive recorded days (8/20-8/23).

As of Monday, the latest data available, a total of 547 people were in hospitals and being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis. Of those patients, 153 required ICU care. Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 34,561.

Credit: KARE 11

Health officials also say that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 3,838, bringing the cumulative total to 639,059.

MDH no longer shares data on weekends, so numbers released on Tuesdays reflect reports from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday.

Eight more people died from the virus, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,775 since the pandemic began. 

Health officials say 4,540 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Credit: KARE 11

One of the deaths that occurred in Ramsey County was a person in the age group of 40 to 44 years of age.

MDH says 6,112,088 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,286,870 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (71.2%). Of that number, 3,076,374 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (67.1%).

Credit: KARE 11

State health officials plan to hold a news conference call at 2 p.m. Tuesday. You can listen live on KARE11.com and on YouTube.

Monday, Aug. 23

11 a.m. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,673 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, as numbers remain high around the state. 

Those new cases were based on the results from 35,409 completed tests (29,157 PCR, 6,252 antigen). MDH considers a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is listed as probable. 

As MDH no longer provides a situation update on weekends, Monday's data on new cases and deaths is current as of 4 a.m. Friday.

Hospitalizations continue to rise as well, with 514 people hospitalized from the virus around Minnesota as of Friday, the first time that number has risen above 500 since early May. Of those, 138 people are being treated in the ICU.