Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Case rise plateaus, vaccinations remain steadyApr 20, 2021 05:54AM ● By Editor
Health officials have warned that Minnesota remains in a precarious position as COVID-19 cases continue a slow but steady climb, and hospitalizations are at levels not seen since the beginning of the year.
The state reported nearly 1,300 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Meanwhile, 52 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have gotten a COVID-19 shot.
The good news still comes with concern over hospitalizations and deaths.
More than 680 people are in the hospital seeking treatment for COVID-19, and the state reported six additional deaths Monday, bringing the state’s death toll to 7,026.
Here are Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 statistics, as of Monday:
7,026 deaths (six new); 557,665 positive cases; 95 percent off isolation
52 percent of adults with at least one dose; 36 percent completely vaccinated
About 85 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose
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.
Still, the latest numbers suggest that hospitalizations may be peaking.
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.
Six deaths Monday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 7,026. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.
The state has recorded 557,665 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 1,292 posted Monday. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Developments around the state
County fairs still have questions
Organizers of county fairs across Minnesota are watching COVID-19 case numbers, and vaccination rates, with a mix of hope and trepidation.
It’s not clear what the COVID-19 landscape will look like this summer. Vaccination rates are in a close race with more contagious variants — and the uncertainty is starting to get to county fair organizers. And planning is well underway for this summer's fairs, after many were canceled by the pandemic last year.
Lake of the Woods County has one of the state’s earlier fairs, set to open in mid-July. J.P. Sweet, one of the fair’s planners, said it’s hard to nail down events with any certainty — or even know how to lay out the fairgrounds — because it’s not clear what the landscape will be in a few months.
“What are restrictions going to look like? What’s the masking look like?” Sweet said. “And where are our numbers at? Because obviously we don’t want to host a public event if we are in the middle of a large COVID outbreak within our community.”
Sweet said he's considered rescheduling the fair for later in the summer, but that would present a whole different set of challenges. For now he said the only option is to stay flexible, and be ready to radically downsize the fair, if necessary.
“What would make a move very difficult for a county fair would be, your carnival is your big one,” he said. “Our guy comes up from New Orleans and plays several county fairs throughout the state.”
The carnival is booked, years in advance. There’s no rescheduling it. He’d have to cancel the carnival to move the fair itself. And without rides, Sweet said, the fair isn’t worth having.
— John Enger | MPR News
To see the original posts and read more COVID-19 reporting, follow this link to the MPR News website. https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/04/20/latest-on-covid19-in-mn