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Live updates: 719 COVID hospitalizations; 2,484 new cases; 14 deaths

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

MINNESOTA, USA — Thursday, Sept.16

11 a.m.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 2,484 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with an additional 14 people dying from the virus.

The cumulative total cases in the state is now at 678,978 since the start of the pandemic. 

Credit: KARE 11

MDH also reported 14 deaths from the virus on Thursday, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,970 since the pandemic began. 

Health officials say 4,599 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

The fatalities reported Thursday include a person between the ages of 25 and 29 in Dakota County. 

Credit: KARE 11

According to MDH's latest data available, 719 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state, with 510 in non-ICU beds and 209 in the ICU. This week is the first time since December 2021 that the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds has risen over 200. 

Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 36,645. 

MDH reported 6,320,203 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,362,569 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (72.6%). Of that number 3,179,113 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (68.9%).

Credit: KARE 11
Credit: KARE 11

Wednesday, Sept. 15

2 p.m.

Minnesota health officials held a briefing call on the state's COVID-19 situation. They addressed a new, voluntary app for storing and proving vaccination records. 

You can watch the full call on YouTube. 

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm addressed Minnesota's report of 41 additional COVID-19 deaths, including a backlog of newly-verified data. She said on the call that without the backlog of data, Minnesota would have reported 13 deaths. She said Wednesday's newly-reported cases and deaths are the final "batch" from a data review that started earlier in 2021. 

The data review involved epidemiologists reviewing "incomplete" reports from long-term care facilities and calling those facilities to confirm them. The newly-verified cases and deaths include data from as far as 18 months ago. 

She also pointed out that Minnesota has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs since last year. She said with more beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, there's less resources available for others who critically need care. 

While current concerns echo those from earlier days of the pandemic, Malcolm said it's different this time. Instead of resources like ventilators, hospitals are worried about staffing shortages. 

Malcolm said so far, the State Fair has been linked to 153 cases and four hospitalizations. She said it will be several weeks before health officials have a full picture of the fair's COVID-19 impact. Malcolm added that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is associated with 33 Minnesota cases. 

Malcolm said there's additional concerns around those events that may not show up in direct data -- someone who went to the fair and is considered a "primary" case may go on to infect many others. 

Malcolm addressed a new app partnership between MDH and the "Docket" app. She said people with a "Minnesota Immunization Information Connection" record can choose to use the app to access their immunization record quickly. 

She emphasized that it is "absolutely not required" for Minnesotans to use the app to access their MIIC record. 

11 a.m.

Minnesota's count of COVID-19 deaths just went up by 41 -- but they weren't all from recent days. 

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 41 new deaths Wednesday, but cautioned that that number includes previously unverified deaths associated with long-term care. MDH said the deaths were verified through a data review project that began early this year. 

For context, MDH reported 12 additional deaths Tuesday and 11 on Monday. 

As of Wednesday, more than 7,950 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic arrived in Minnesota. 

MDH also reported 2,736 new COVID-19 infections Wednesday -- another number including previously unverified data from long-term care facilities. A total of more than 676,500 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Minnesota. 

Credit: Minnesota Department of Health

After a sudden spike to nearly 750 Monday, the number of hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients across the state remained above 700. On Tuesday, the latest hospital data available, MDH said 718 people were in Minnesota hospital beds with COVID-19. Of that total, 208 were in intensive care units -- the same as Monday. 

Credit: KARE

This week is the first time since December 2021 that the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds has risen over 200. MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Monday that Minnesota hospitals are facing the same pressure that is felt nationwide. 

"There are fewer health care workers on the job today than there were last year, due to the extreme stress and burnout they have faced for over 18 months now," Malcolm said in a press statement issued to KARE 11. "Despite the extraordinary collaborations happening across the whole health care system, it is getting harder for some hospitals to find open, staffed beds at the right level of care for critically ill patients—whether due to heart attack, stroke, or COVID."

As for the state's vaccination effort, MDH said more than 3,362,500 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Most of them -- more than 3,179,000 -- are considered fully vaccinated against the virus. 

Credit: Minnesota Department of Health

Tuesday, Sept. 14

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 rose sharply Monday, Minnesota's latest data shows. 

A total of 748 people were in Minnesota hospitals with COVID-19 on Monday, compared with 678 Sunday. Of Monday's 748 patients, 208 were in Intensive Care Units. That's the highest number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds since late December 2020. 

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Minnesota's hospitals are facing the same pressure as those across the country. 

"There are fewer health care workers on the job today than there were last year, due to the extreme stress and burnout they have faced for over 18 months now," Malcolm said in a press statement issued to KARE 11. "Despite the extraordinary collaborations happening across the whole health care system, it is getting harder for some hospitals to find open, staffed beds at the right level of care for critically ill patients—whether due to heart attack, stroke, or COVID."

RELATED: 'The worst I have ever seen it': Doctor describes healthcare worker burnout

Malcolm said the issue affects both small rural facilities and larger systems in the metro area. She said MDH is "in constant contact" with health care leaders and monitoring the situation. She also urged others to "protect ourselves and our neighbors" by measures like getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

Health officials in other parts of the Midwest expressed similar worries. An executive at North Dakota's largest health care system told the Associated Press that its hospitals in Fargo alone need up to 300 more nurses to handle COVID-19 cases.

Credit: KARE

As for other COVID-19 data, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 4,603 new cases and 12 more deaths over the weekend. As MDH no longer provides COVID-19 information on the weekend, numbers reported on Tuesday are from Friday morning through Monday morning. 

Credit: KARE

Of the 12 people whose deaths were reported Tuesday, three were in their 40s. The other nine were between 60 and 94. 

Minnesota has now reported nearly 675,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,915 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began. Of those deaths, about 58% were tied to long-term care or assisted living facilities. More than 36,000 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota. 

Monday, Sept. 13

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 2,693 COVID-19 cases Monday, along with 11 more deaths.

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.

The total number of Minnesotans to test positive for COVID now totals 669,176. With the 11 new deaths, the total number of people who've died from the virus is 7,903.

Credit: KARE 11

According to MDH, all new deaths reported Monday were among people 50 and older. Nine occurred in a private residence and two were reported in a long-term care or assisted living facility.

As of Friday, which is the latest hospitalization data available, 678 people were in Minnesota hospitals due to coronavirus. Of those patients, 187 required ICU care.

Credit: KARE 11

On the vaccine front, 3,352,357 Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, or 72.4% of that population, based on MDH data.

In the same age group, 3,163,785 people are considered fully vaccinated, or 68.6% of that population.

   

Friday, Sept. 10

New statistics from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) show that numbers in key COVID-19 categories such as hospitalizations, new cases and deaths, continue to rise.

On Friday MDH reported 2,050 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, with an additional 18 people dying from the virus.

The cumulative total cases in the state is now at 666,496 since the start of the pandemic. 

MDH also reported 18 deaths from the virus on Friday, bringing the cumulative death total to 7,892 since the pandemic began. Health officials say 4,562 of those deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

The fatalities reported Friday include one person between the ages of 40 and 44 in Anoka County, and one person between 45 and 49 in Freeborn County.

According to MDH's latest data available, 695 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state, with 510 in non-ICU beds and 185 in the ICU. That's the highest hospital bed numbers we've seen since April 14.

Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 36,085.

MDH reported 6,274,211 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,348,641 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (72.3%). Of that number 3,158,635 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (68.5%).

Thursday, Sept. 9

2 p.m.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health and education officials shared the latest on Minnesota's COVID situation, the presence of the delta variant and its impact on the start of the 2021-22 school year.

The officials held a conference call Thursday to brief members of the media. 

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said as we begin the school year she remains concerned about the rise in childhood cases of COVID-19. She said school-related cases continues to increase among kids in school and childcare settings.

The state confirms there have been 27,000 students and staff cases in schools since the start of the pandemic.

Malcolm discussed CDC research that shows hospitalization rates among kids are lower in highly vaccinated states. She said that demonstrates that vaccinations help protect communities.

"Since July, after delta became dominant in the country, the rate of new COVID cases and COVID-related emergency visits increased for people under 18," said Commissioner Malcolm.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said last fall 0.7% of children were hospitalized for COVID, and this fall that number is 1.3%.

MDE Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller said that they are collecting information on school COVID policies across the state and should have more details in "the next week or so."

"We must all do our part to make sure our students get the school year they deserve," said Dr. Mueller.

A school nurse was invited to be on the call to discuss their important and difficult job this school year.

"COVID has added an additional layer to the responsibilities of school nurses. When school nurses do our jobs well we tend to be fairly invisible but COVID has thrown all of that into disarray," said Licensed School Nurse Annie Lumbar Bendson.

Once again, MDH officials urged people to get vaccinated and to wear masks indoors.