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Live updates: MDH reports 878 new COVID cases as delta variant spreads

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. — Thursday, Aug. 5   

  • Minneapolis Public Schools to require students, staff to mask up beginning Aug. 9
  • Vikings QBs Kirk Cousins and Nate Stanley activated from COVID list
  • $100 incentive now available to Minnesotans who get vaccinated
  • M Health Fairview, Allina Health, Children's Minnesota requiring employees to get vaccinated for COVID
  • Multiple schools, venues and business reinstate mask or vaccine policies

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.  

Credit: KARE

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%). 

Credit: KARE

Health officials say 128,818 children between ages 12-15 have received at least one shot. 

RELATED: Sturgis bike rally revs back bigger, despite virus variant

Wednesday, Aug. 4 

11 a.m. 

More than 900 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded across the state in the past day, according to data shared Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

The report of 936 single-day infections is alarming, as yesterday's 1,667 reported new cases was accumulated over three days time. Wednesday's numbers bring Minnesota's total cases to 615,923 since the pandemic began. State health officials have held several press briefings over the past several days, discussing the spike in cases and the tie to the delta variant, which is highly transmissible and linked by some studies to more hospitalizations. 

Credit: KARE

MDH spokesman Doug Schultz says of the case samples that have been put through whole genome testing (WGT) since June 20, 81% have of the delta variant. Shultz says in recent weeks that percentage is likely higher, in the neighborhood of 85%.  

Data reflects that hospitalizations are up. Currently 268 people are being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis, 22 in ICU, after hospitalization numbers hovered around 100 for much of July. Total hospitalizations due to the virus have risen to 33,485 (6,781 ICU) since March of 2020.

Credit: KARE

Five more people have died from COVID, bringing total deaths to 7,683. Of that number 4,515 fatalities are tied to long-term care or assisted living settings. 

The state vaccination dashboard says 3,176,256 people ages 16 and up are now partially vaccinated (69.1%), with 65.8% of those eligible (3,007,556 people) considered fully vaccinated after completing the COVID series.

Credit: KARE