Minnesota around 33K shots away from hitting 70% COVID-19 vaccination rate

Due to a recent increase in COVID-19 vaccinations, Minnesota is now around 33,000 shots away from hitting Gov. Tim Walz’s 70% vaccination rate goal for people 16 years of age and older. 

The seven-day rolling average for new first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is 5,100 a day, up from 2,900 in mid-July, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Health data.  

About 69.2% of Minnesotans ages 16 and up have at least one dose of the vaccine and 65.8% are fully vaccinated. 

Meanwhile, the number of new daily COVID-19 infections has been increasing since mid-July. MDH reported 878 new cases on Thursday and the seven-day rolling average test positivity rate is up to 4.2%. It had been below 2% in mid-July. Anything over 5% is concerning for health officials because it indicates a high rate of community transmission. 

Hospitalizations and ICU cases are also on the rise. Non-ICU hospitalizations for COVID-19 have gone from below 100 in mid-July to 189 patients currently hospitalized with the virus. ICU cases have quadrupled, from around 20 to over 80.

MDH says the highly contagious delta variant now makes up the majority of cases in Minnesota. The delta variant is contributing to a surge in coronavirus infections nationwide. 

As of Thursday, 59 counties in Minnesota are considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have substantial or high risk of transmission of COVID-19, areas which the CDC recommends all people—including those who are already vaccinated—wear masks indoors. 

Minnesota’s $100 vaccine incentive off to popular start

Minnesota's offer of $100 Visa gift cards for newly vaccinated people is off to a more popular start than the smaller June incentives. A total of 12,200 people have applied since the claim form opened on Wednesday. It runs through Aug. 15 but is limited to the first 24,330 submissions.