COVID-19 infections rising in Minnesota for 1st time in several weeks

COVID-19 infections are rising in Minnesota for the first time in several weeks.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,449 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths Friday. Minnesota has now seen 502,893 COVID-19 cases and 6,771 deaths since the pandemic began. 

The 1,449 newly reported cases were out of 40,005 tests—a 3.6% positivity rate. The state’s 7-day rolling average positivity rate, which has been steadily increasing lately, is now up to 4.2%, although it is a lagging indicator. Anything over 5% is a concern for MDH because it indicates a high level of community spread of the virus. 

Three of the nine deaths reported on Friday were in long-term care facilities. One of the people who died was a Ramsey County resident in their 40s. 

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have been increasing as well, now up to 316—the highest since Feb. 14. Seventy-four of the 316 hospitalized COVID-19 patients are in the ICU.  

Meanwhile, MDH reported 1,337,829 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 788,495 are fully vaccinated, which is 24% and 14.2% of the state’s population respectively, according to the latest data from the state health department. 

MDH reported Friday around 78% of seniors have now received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

Minnesota has administered over 2 million vaccine doses. Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday it took the state two months to administer the first million doses, but the second million were given out in less than one month. 

Walz predicts Minnesota will get 350,000 vaccine doses the week of March 29, which is double the 172,390 shots arriving this week and would be welcome news as the state’s vaccination pace has stagnated in recent days. 

Minnesotans are encouraged to sign up for the state’s Vaccine Connector website to be notified when they become eligible for a vaccine.