UK variant accounts for more than half of Minnesota COVID-19 cases over 6-day period

The state’s medical director says more than half of Minnesota’s positive COVID-19 cases over a six-day period in late March were B.1.1.7. variant cases.

State Medical Director Ruth Lynfield gave the news Thursday, showing the strain is quickly becoming dominant in Minnesota. B.1.1.7. is also known as the UK variant.

In total, between 54 and 66 percent of cases during that period were the UK variant, Lynfield said. 

Week over week, cases have climbed for 23 of the last 25 days, according to Minnesota Department of Health data. Minnesota is currently averaging about 1,616 new cases of COVID-19 per day.

Minnesota health officials reported 2,140 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the first time the state has seen over 2,000 cases reported in a single day since Jan. 10. 

The 2,140 newly reported cases were out of 43,117 tests—about a 5% positivity rate. The seven-day rolling average positivity rate continues to increase, now up to 5.4%, although it is a lagging indicator. Anything over 5% is a concern for MDH.