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Latest on COVID-19 in MN: State reaches vaccine milestone as death toll passes 7,000

Apr 19, 2021 05:50AM ● By Editor
Black Nurses Rock member nurse Lily Thomas (left) tells Chinaker Kinapoe to keep his vaccine card and return in four weeks for a second dose at a vaccine clinic at the Power of People Leadership Institute in Minneapolis on March 19.  Photo: Evan Frost | MPR News file

From Minnesota Public Radio News - April 19, 2021

Minnesota passed two COVID-19 milestones over the weekend — one an encouraging sign of progress, the other a grim reminder of the pandemic’s toll.

Saturday’s update from state health officials showed that more than half of Minnesotans 16 and older have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That number climbed to 51.6 percent as of Sunday’s update — with more than 36 percent of Minnesota adults fully vaccinated.

But the state also reported 25 more COVID-19 deaths over the weekend, pushing the overall pandemic death toll past 7,000, to 7,020.

Newly reported COVID-19 vaccine doses in Minnesota

Here are Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 statistics:

  • 7,020 deaths (15 new); 556,381 positive cases; 95 percent off isolation

  • 51.6 percent of adults with at least one dose; 36.3 percent completely vaccinated

  • About 85 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose

Graph projecting when most Minnesotans will get vaccinated
Projections by MPR News data reporter David Montgomery

Vaccinations solid

Sunday’s Health Department data showed more than 1.6 million Minnesotans fully inoculated while nearly 2.3 million have received at least one dose, including about 85 percent of residents age 65 and older. The agency reported more than 70,000 additional vaccinations — above the seven-day average but a week-over-week decrease from last Sunday’s numbers.

A short-term dip in the vaccination pace was expected, due to the pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution. 

Hospital, ICU needs hover at winter levels

Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past weeks and are hovering around levels not seen since early January. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.

The age of those newly hospitalized is trending younger than earlier in the pandemic. The majority of people in the hospital now for COVID-19 are younger than 60.

Fifteen deaths reported on Sunday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 7,020. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

The state has recorded 556,381 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,847 posted Sunday. About 95 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

There are signs that the current wave of new cases may be ebbing. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days dropped below 6 percent on Sunday — the first time that’s happened in more than a week.

Thanks to vaccinations, officials don’t believe Minnesota will experience the kind of steep surge in cases seen in November and December.

Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. The latest numbers, however, show cases creeping up across the state.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region
Youth cases grow; state urges weekly testing

Young people — some of whom are too young to be vaccinated — are driving case growth statewide. 

The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has grown, with more than 44,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began. 

New Minnesota COVID-19 cases by age adjusted for population

In one recent situation, the state Health Department sent out an advisory recently asking anyone who attended the Northland Youth Wrestling Association tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., to get tested for COVID-19. The tournament brought together 64 Minnesota teams from 52 counties — and now at least 29 cases in 13 schools around the state have been detected. 

The state is also asking any student involved in youth sports or extracurricular activities of any kind to get tested for COVID-19 every week.

With kids increasingly returning to school buildings and sports, Minnesota public health officials are urging Minnesota families with children, in general, to be tested every two weeks for COVID-19 until the end of the school year.

Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they will spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations. Those with the coronavirus can spread it when they don’t have symptoms. 

Caseloads, vaccinations 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.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race
Even as new case counts continue to track well below their late November, early December peaks, the data shows Latino people continue to be hit hard.

The vaccination pace for people of color also remains frustratingly slow compared to white Minnesotans.

Chart of vaccinations by race

To see the original articles and read more COVID-19 reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website.

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