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COVID In Minnesota: 1,120 New Cases Reported; Positivity Rate Reaches 4.5%

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota health officials reported 1,120 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday and four more deaths as the Delta variant continues to spread in the state.

According to the latest figures, the state's average positivity rate reached 4.5% as of last week, inching closer to what officials consider the "caution" threshold, which stands at 5%. Since early July, the positivity rate has surged more than 4% as officials say that highly-contagious variant is spreading, particularly among unvaccinated Minnesotans.

Average daily case counts are now above the "high risk" threshold, averaging 10.8 per 100,000 residents as of last week. Hospitalizations are also increasing. As of Friday, 87 people were in intensive care in Minnesota hospitals, with another 212 people being treated for less severe symptoms. In the last three weeks, ICU hospitalizations in Minnesota have more than quadrupled.

Although breakthrough Delta variant cases are possible among vaccinated people, health officials are still encouraging vaccination, as the shots greatly reduce the risk of severe illness or death.

Currently, about 58% of Minnesotans have received at least one vaccine shot while 54% are fully vaccinated. Among Minnesotans ages 65 and older, the demographic most vulnerable to COVID-19, nearly 90% have completed their vaccine series.

As for children, the least vaccinated demographic, 36% of youths ages 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated. The numbers are higher for older teens, as about 50% of Minnesotans between the ages of 16 and 17 are fully inoculated.

Since the start of the pandemic, health officials have tallied nearly 619,000 cases in Minnesota and 7,698 deaths.

As the Delta variant spreads in Minnesota and across the country, schools and business are again requiring that people wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccine status, per updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.

On Monday, Amazon began requiring that warehouse workers wear masks, following other other national businesses such as McDonald's and Home Depot, both of which now require workers to wear masks and recommend that customers follow suit.

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