COVID-19 cases growing faster in Minnesota's Black community

The latest data on the coronavirus in Minnesota shows the number of new cases is growing much faster in the Black community, which is seeing nearly twice the per capita case growth of any other racial or ethnic group.

Health officials say the vaccination rate for Black Minnesotans has slowed down compared to a strong spring and early summer.

About 85% of new cases in Minnesota are the result of the highly contagious delta variant, which has led to more sickness and hospitalizations, said Kelly Robinson, president of the Twin Cities chapter of Black Nurses Rock, a national volunteer network.

Robinson’s chapter and others have focused on bringing the vaccine to Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons, as well as churches, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

"The people that we vaccinated, you know we would have missed them had they not had the access," Robinson said. "It’s not like they don’t know where to go. That’s a part of the challenge for some people. But it’s the access: getting there, making it a priority, and actually going through with it. And feeling comfortable."

Robinson said making the vaccine more accessible in underserved areas where people may not have insurance or reliable transportation are important factors.

Health Department data on Tuesday showed Minnesota averaging nearly 600 new cases per day over the last seven reporting days, up significantly from about 91 daily at the start of July.