Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Hoping for an upswing in vaccinationsFeb 23, 2021 06:59AM ● By Editor
Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccination effort is struggling again for traction following a mild upswing. Officials, though, are anticipating a busy week as some 45,000 weather-delayed shots make their way into the state atop the expected 100,000 doses from the feds.
Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:
6,433 deaths (one new)
479,591 positive cases (561 new), 466,311 off isolation (97 percent)
7.2 million tests, 3.4 million Minnesotans tested (about 59 percent of the population)
13.7 percent of Minnesotans vaccinated with at least one dose
The state Health Department on Monday reported about 20,000 new vaccinations. The vast majority of those, however, were second doses.
State public health leaders last week warned the cold snap that gripped the nation recently would also delay vaccine shipments to Minnesota, potentially depressing vaccination counts in the short-term. Some clinics were postponed.
“The good news is that we’re seeing a return to normal on that front,” Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, told reporters Monday. “We hope to be back to normal operations and scheduling in the next week or so.”
About 13.7 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one doseas of the Monday update, with about 6.4 percent completely vaccinated. Nearly 42 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older have received at least one shot.
Minnesota is currently ranked 19th among states in doses administered per 100,000 people, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Minnesota had been as low as 25th on that ranking.
Pandemic metrics still solid
Vaccination questions aside, Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers show the state continuing on a steady, positive path. Monday marked the first day that all public middle and high schools were allowed to reopen their buildings to students.
Hospitalization rates are particularly encouraging. There were 235 people with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals as of Sunday. Forty-eight needed intensive care, dropping below 50 for the first time since early April.
Known, active cases slipped back below 7,000. The overall trend remains solid, hovering around late September levels.
One newly reported death raised Minnesota’s toll to 6,433. Among those who’ve died, about 63 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.
The state has recorded 479,591 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 561 reported Monday. About 97 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.
Cases spread across age groups, regions
People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 90,000 since the pandemic began, including nearly 48,000 among people ages 20 to 24.
The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 37,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.
Although less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.People can have the coronavirus and spread COVID-19 when they don’t have symptoms.
Regionally, most parts of Minnesota are down significantly from the late November, early December spike as well as a January blip.
There has been an uptick in cases in northwestern Minnesota recently, though it’s unclear why just yet.
Caseloads still heaviest among people of color
In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.
Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.
‘Where we all want to go’
State health officials continue to remind Minnesotans that the pandemic is not over yet and that new virus strains circulating in the United States may be more contagious.
Ehresmann on Monday also warned that outbreaks are continuing, noting 23 in January tied to gyms and other similar facilities.
“There is a risk in any indoor settings that bring people from different households together,” she said, urging Minnesotans to continue to wear masks in indoor gathering spaces, socially distance and otherwise stay vigilant against the disease’s spread.
State officials didn’t have a specific response Monday to news that the Minnesota Twins are proposing to allow 10,000 fans at Target Field when the baseball season starts in early April.
“Directionally, it’s where we all want to go,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said, adding that if Minnesotans keep working to stem the spread and vaccinations continue to ramp up, “we are truly optimistic about the prospect of fans getting into sports venues in 2021.”
COVID-19 in MinnesotaData in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health's cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.
Developments from around the state
Hy-Vee pharmacies join vaccination effort
Hy-Vee pharmacies in Minnesota are joining Walmart and Thrifty White in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Gov. Tim Walz’s office said Monday.
Hy-Vee will administer more than 10,000 doses of the vaccine this week to adults 65 years of age and older at more than 30 Hy-Vee sites in the state, the governor’s office said in a statement.
— MPR News Staff
Klobuchar speaks out about vaccine misinformation
Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined a local physician and health care administrator on Sunday in the Twin Cities to urge people to accept the science behind COVID-19 vaccines.
Klobuchar said that as more people become eligible for vaccination against the coronavirus, a big challenge will be convincing them to get the protection to help bring the pandemic under control.
She said social media companies, including Facebook, need to do a better job combating falsehoods being circulated to scare people away from the vaccines.
— Mark Zdechlik | MPR News
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Isolated and at risk, veterans hope COVID vaccine brings return to normalcy: About half of U.S. veterans are over the age of 65 and many have underlying health complications, making them especially vulnerable to the coronavirus.
To see the original report and read more COVID-19 reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/02/23/latest-on-covid19-in-mn