MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- While a number of retailers are returning to requirements on face masks among employees, if not requiring them to be outright vaccinated, new figures show upward trends for new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota. The state is also above what the health department considers the line of caution in three key metrics -- positivity rates, daily new cases per 100,000 residents, and new COVID hospital admissions per 100,000 residents.
On Tuesday, Minnesota's health department released its latest virus figures showing 1,667 more cases and four new deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 614,990 positive cases and 7,678 deaths.
The health department reports that the rolling average positivity rate is now at 4%. While that's below the line for caution (at 5%), the positivity rate for the last few days indicates that we're now above that threshold. There are also a reported 7.9 daily new cases per 100,000 Minnesota residents, which puts the state above the line of caution; 10 cases per 100,000 is considered high risk.
Hospitalization figures are also showing significant gains day-over-day. The latest figures of those hospitalized show 75 Minnesotans in ICU, compared to fewer than 20 on July 15. There are an additional 173 reported hospitalizations for COVID in the state. The figures show an average of 4.1 new daily hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, which is at the line of caution.
As of Tuesday morning, the latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health showed that about 69% of Minnesotans 16 or older had received at least one dose, and 91.8% of those 65 or older had received at least one dose. In total, the state has administered 5,924,040 doses of vaccine, and has also topped 3 million residents having completed their vaccine series.
Minnesota-based retailers are updating their face mask policies for employees in light of new Centers For Disease Control guidance. On Monday, Target announced all workers in areas with "substantial or high risk" of COVID transmission as defined by the CDC will be required to wear face masks starting Tuesday, whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Cub Foods said all "associates," vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be required to wear masks while working starting Tuesday. Cub also recommends customers wear masks while shopping.
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