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Minnesota part of COVID-19 surge in Upper Midwest

CDC data published Monday afternoon showed Minnesota led the nation in new COVID-19 cases over the previous seven days.

MINNEAPOLIS — In the past seven days, Minnesota led the nation in new COVID-19 cases based on population, according to CDC data published on Monday afternoon.

The CDC numbers list Minnesota with 472 cases per 100,000 people in that time frame, part of a regional surge that includes Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan and Nebraska. The largest increases have been recorded in parts of the Upper Midwest, Southwest and Northeast, with COVID-19 cases in the Southeast U.S. now falling. 

On Monday alone, Minnesota reported 5,266 new COVID cases during a daily update.

With hospitalizations also rising, Minnesota hospitals are sounding the alarm. According to state data, 97% of ICU beds are now occupied, and the 1,282 people hospitalized is the highest total since December 2020. 

"I'm worried that people are going to die, and they never had a chance at getting a bed," Dr. Sara Spilseth with Regions Hospital told NBC News. "The patients, they're waiting too long to be seen. They're very sick. And every day, it's a fight to try to find, where's the sick patient going to go?" 

The majority of cases and deaths in Minnesota consist of unvaccinated people across all age groups, according to state data.

In a small bright spot, the latest numbers show that 60% of the state's total population is now fully vaccinated. And, in the newly eligible 5-to-11-year-old age group, more than 30,000 kids have now received their first dose of the approved Pfizer vaccine.