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Live updates: Minnesota reports more than 600 new COVID cases, 6 deaths

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

ST PAUL, Minn. — Monday, Aug. 2

  • U of M reinstates indoor mask requirement amid delta concerns
  • State offering $100 Visa gift cards to eligible Minnesotans who get their first COVID vaccine dose between July 30 and Aug. 15
  • MDH recommends schools follow CDC mask recommendations
  • Mayo vaccinologist says 4th COVID surge "entirely predictable"
  • MDH: 75% of new MN cases are delta variant

2 p.m.

Health officials held a briefing call to talk about Minnesota's fight against COVID-19. You can listen below. 

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the delta variant continues to fuel new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, with an estimated 85% of local new cases being caused by the variant. She added that more Minnesota counties are being added to the CDC's list of areas with high or substantial levels of transmission. 

RELATED: The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors in these Minnesota counties

"This is a very opportunistic virus; it finds our weak spots and takes advantage of them," Malcolm said. She encouraged people to get vaccinated against the virus and pointed to Minnesota's $100 incentive program for new vaccinations. 

Malcolm said breakthrough cases are rare, and cases where vaccinated people later go to the hospital for severe COVID-19 are even rarer. 

She called masking a "smart, preventative measure" that keeps you and other people safe as the "game-changing" delta variant continues to circulate. 

"You frankly might not know who around you could be vulnerable," Malcolm said. "If you're vaccinated, it is very unlikely that you will contract COVID-19 but in rare cases, CDC has found that people who are fully vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others even if they don't develop symptoms themselves. This small risk, plus the fact that we have a very contagious delta variant circulating widely, plus the fact that in many parts of the country fewer than half of the eligible people are vaccinated, this makes masking just a smart, preventive measure to reduce the risk for all of us and cut down on transmission. Just that extra layer of protection against transmission."

State Epidemiologist and MDH Medical Director Dr. Ruth Lynfield spoke on new COVID-19 treatment options for high-risk patients. She said late last week, the FDA expanded its emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapeutic REGEN-COV. It can now be used as a post-exposure prophylaxis (prevention after being exposed to the virus) for patients at high risk of severe COVID-19. 

Lynfield said the treatment is not a substitute for vaccination. More information on eligibility and usage is available on the FDA's website. 

Malcolm was asked about the effectiveness of new masking requirements by the University of Minnesota and some Target stores, since most other businesses aren't currently requiring masks. She said the "best" protection is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but that masking is a "prudent extra layer of protection." 

Malcolm said a statewide mask mandate isn't an option, but that local jurisdictions are able to issue their own requirements.

Health officials also spoke on Monday's COVID-19 data update from MDH, which included six additional deaths. Lynfield said only one of those deaths was recent, and that the others happened in the past but were recently reported.  

11 a.m. 

The Minnesota Department of Health Monday announced 632 new COVID cases and six more deaths from the virus. 

Since the pandemic first came to Minnesota, 613,325 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 7,670 people in the state have died from it. 

As MDH no longer provides COVID-19 updates during the weekend, this data is current as of 4 a.m. Friday. 

MDH officials say the more contagious delta variant is driving the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota -- a trend echoed nationwide. Last week, the CDC recommended even vaccinated people wear masks in counties where COVID-19 spread is high or substantial. That includes more than 30 counties in Minnesota. 

RELATED: The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors in these Minnesota counties

Following the CDC's new guidelines, the University of Minnesota announced a decision Monday to reinstate its systemwide indoor masking requirement. The university's president also said COVID-19 vaccinations are strongly encouraged. 

RELATED: University of Minnesota brings back indoor mask requirement, vaccinated or not

The CDC also recommended masking in schools nationwide. MDH seconded those guidelines, but said the decision to require masks is up to individual districts. 

RELATED: Minnesota health officials say schools should follow CDC mask guidance

As of Thursday in Minnesota, 3,158,646 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, 2,997,637 are considered fully vaccinated. 

As of Friday, 229 people were in Minnesota hospitals with COVID-19. Of that group, 68 had symptoms severe enough for the ICU. 

RELATED: Governor Walz announces $100 incentive to encourage people to get vaccinations

Friday, July 30

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported Friday that the number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased by 702, bringing the cumulative total to 612,701 since the start of the pandemic.

Five more people died, bringing total deaths to 7,668. Health officials say 4,505 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Officials say a total of 231 people are currently hospitalized and being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis, 23 more than Thursday. Of those patients, 64 require ICU care. Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 33,311. 

Credit: KARE

MDH says 3,152,764 people age 16 and older having received at least one shot (68.7%). Of that number 2,993,889 people have completed their COVID series (65.5%) and are considered completely vaccinated.

On Thursday, Governor Tim Walz announced that the state will be offering $100 Visa gift cards to anyone 12 and older who receives their first vaccine dose between July 30 and Aug. 15 as a way to incentivize vaccinations around Minnesota. More information can be found here

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.

   

Thursday, July 29

11 a.m.

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.

Officials say a total of 208 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. 

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.

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.