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COVID In Minnesota: 25 More Deaths Reported, And Another Nearly 3,000 New Cases

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Health officials on Thursday reported an additional 2,919 virus cases and 25 more deaths due to COVID-19, as the state's positivity rate continues to climb toward the high risk category.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health's daily update, the state's total positive cases have risen to 752,060 since the pandemic began, with 8,379 deaths attributed to the virus. Thursday's figures reflect nearly 50,000 newly processed tests.

There have been more than 200,000 vaccine booster shots given to eligible Minnesotans. An FDA panel of experts will consider Moderna's request for emergency authorization of its booster shot Thursday, and on Friday they'll look at Johnson & Johnson's application. Preliminary data just released showed people who got the one dose J&J shot may be better off with a booster from one of the other vaccines.

As of Thursday morning, figures from the Minnesota Department of Health showed that about 74.4% of Minnesotans 16 or older had received at least one dose, and 94.3% of those 65 or older had received at least one dose. In total, the state has administered 6,660,659 doses of vaccine, with about 3.26 million residents having completed their vaccine series.

Total ICU bed usage among COVID-19 patients is at 255. Additionally, there are currently 728 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in non-ICU beds. Many hospitals in the state are reporting being stretched close to capacity as these figures continue to remain high. The rate of deaths being reported is roughly double what it was a month ago. The rate of new COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 residents is at 14.1; the last time it sustained figures that high was at the end of April.

Minnesota's latest rolling seven-day average positivity rate is still on the rise, now at 8.4%, as reported Thursday. The line for high risk is drawn at 10%. The current figure represents the highest mark since vaccines first rolled out late last year.

"The numbers are still unfortunately very stable at a high level, and the lagging indicators, which are normally hospitalizations and deaths, are still going hand-in-hand with test positivity rate," Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday. "That's very concering."

There are also a reported 52.3 daily new cases per 100,000 Minnesota residents, which puts the state well above the line considered high risk, and the highest that figure has been since the middle of December 2020.

"There's no excuse for this because we have a vaccine now," Walz said, "and 87% of the people who are hospitalized are unvaccinated and today, all 25 who died, and that has been the case for about 99% of the population, or of those cases."

Minnesota ranks right in the middle of the pack when it comes to the safest states during the pandemic, according to a new study.

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