ST PAUL, Minn. —
- MDH reports 32 new deaths, 1,616 hospitalizations
- Walz frees up $40M in American Rescue Plan funding to buy COVID tests
- Minneapolis and St. Paul temporarily issue food establishment rule
- State easing quarantine restrictions for child care providers
- Minneapolis updated vaccine-or-test mandate; all children 4 and under will be exempt from the mandate at eating establishments
Friday, Jan. 14
On Friday, MDH officials reported 32 new COVID deaths, which include three people in their 30s, and two people in their 40s.
Minnesota's cumulative death total is at 10,971 since the pandemic began.
Health officials say 5,228 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
On Friday, 11,560 new COVID-19 cases in the state were announced, however the latest data published likely does not paint the full picture of the current coronavirus surge, which has been fueled largely due to the omicron variant, as many at-home COVID tests were not reported to state health officials.
The cumulative total COVID cases in the state is now at 1,138,246 since the start of the pandemic.
Health experts also say that due to the contagiousness of omicron, counting new cases should not be the primary measurement, saying that hospitalizations and deaths better illustrate the severity of the latest surge.
According to MDH's latest data available, 1,616 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state (an increase of 28 patients from Thursday), with 1,356 in non-ICU beds and 260 in the ICU.
Hospital bed space continues to be low across the state.
Officials report the occupancy rate of adult intensive care beds and pediatric ICU beds are all above 90% across Minnesota. That high number also includes non-intensive care beds.
There are no staffed adult ICU bed available in northeastern Minnesota and one staffed pediatric ICU beds in the central portion of the state.
In the metro, there are seven staffed pediatric ICU beds available and three staffed adult ICU beds available.
MDH reported 8,967,160 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,795,237 people age 5 and older having received at least one shot (72.8%). Of that number 3,559,834 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (68.3%).
Among children 5-11 years old, 173,854 kids have at least one shot (34%) and 137,798 have completed their vaccine series (27%).
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Thursday, Jan. 13
Governor Tim Walz is trying to keep pace with demand as people across Minnesota scramble to find COVID tests as the omicron variant takes hold.
Walz announced Thursday that he intends to use $40 million in American Rescue Plan funding to purchase additional rapid tests and get them in the hands of Minnesotans as quickly as possible. He says the state is "actively" negotiating with testing manufacturers to secure a steady supply of tests in the weeks and months ahead.
“No Minnesotan should have to go without a COVID-19 test because they can’t afford it, and we’re tapping every available resource to make sure every Minnesotan gets the public health tools they need to stay safe,” Walz said in a released statement.
The plan to use federal rescue plan funding has been submitted to the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission.
Just last week the Walz administration opened up new community testing locations, expanded hours at existing sites ad freed up 1.8 million rapid tests for school districts to use during spring semester.
As concerns around the fast-spreading omicron variant grow, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 52 new COVID deaths in the state on Thursday.
Of the newly reported deaths, two people in their 30s and five people in their 40s passed away.
Minnesota's cumulative death total is at 10,939 since the pandemic began.
Health officials say 5,219 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
According to MDH's latest data available, 1,588 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state (an increase of 80 patients from Wednesday), with 1,335 in non-ICU beds and 253 in the ICU.
There are no staffed adult ICU bed available in northeastern Minnesota and zero staffed pediatric ICU beds in the central portion of the state.
MDH reported 8,945,012 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,791,088 people age 5 and older having received at least one shot (72.7%). Of that number 3,556,416 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (68.2%).
Among children 5-11 years old, 172,570 kids have at least one shot (34%) and 136,341 have completed their vaccine series (27%).
Wednesday, Jan. 12
Minneapolis and St. Paul are temporarily requiring either a proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test for customers at food establishments.
This new policy begins next Wednesday, Jan. 19.
If you show a negative test, it must be within a 72-hour window.
The test must be a verifiable lab test; no take home tests.
The temporary policy does not apply to grab-and-go, grocery stores, schools, and hospital dining areas.
On Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials announced a plan to help Minnesota hospitals struggling under the weight of the COVID omicron surge.
Gov. Walz says he is requesting $40 million to support hospital staffing. MDH is also waiving restrictions to allow hospitals and care facilities to expand capacity.
Walz and MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, HealthPartners President and CEO Andrea Walsh, and CentraCare President and CEO Dr. Kenneth Holmen spoke at the news conference.
Malcolm says the state is currently negotiating a contract with a national nursing staffing agency to bring up to 300 more nurses to Minnesota. Regional health cooperatives in Minnesota will help decide where they are deployed.
Meanwhile, MDH officials reported 49 new COVID deaths Wednesday, which include one person in their 20s, another in their 30s and four people in their 40s.
Minnesota's cumulative death total is at 10,887 since the pandemic began. Health officials say 5,211 of those deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.
Tuesday, Jan. 11
On Tuesday Governor Tim Walz announced that the state is expanding its "Kids Deserve a Shot" program to include children between the ages of 5 and 11. Families that get a child in that age group vaccinated (both first and second dose) between January 1 and February 28 can claim a $200 VISA gift card. Eligible children who complete their COVID series in that time frame will also be entered in a drawing for one of five $100,000 college scholarships.
In a press release, the Walz administration said while Minnesota is one of the leaders in getting 5 to 11-year-olds vaccinated, Tuesday's data release by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said just 33% in that age group have received at least one dose.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday announced hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in the state. However, the latest data published likely does not paint the full picture of the current coronavirus surge, which has been fueled largely due to the omicron variant, as many at-home COVID tests were not reported to state health officials.
Health experts also say that due to the contagiousness of omicron, new cases should not be the primary focus or measurement of the current wave, saying that hospitalizations and deaths better illustrate the severity of the surge.
Minnesota reported 29,487 new COVID cases and 38 new COVID-related deaths on Tuesday.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Minnesota has reported a total of 1,104,494 COVID cases and 10,838 COVID deaths.
Of those 10,838 COVID-related deaths, 5,203 of them happened in long-term care or assistant living facilities.
Hospitalizations due to COVID remain high in Minnesota and trending towards the previous peak set last year. MDH officials say 1,528 COVID patients are hospitalized and of those, 263 are in the ICU.
More Minnesotans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, but vaccination rates for children ages 5 to 11 are still below the statewide average. 170,082 children (33%) have received at least one dose and of those, 133,488 (25%) have been fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, 8,909,051 doses of the COVID vaccines have reportedly administered and 3,784,898 people have received at least one dose and 3,550,974 people have been fully vaccinated.