MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As more and more Minnesotans continue to undergo vaccination for COVID-19, Minnesota health officials report there are another 2,204 positive cases of the virus and 61 more deaths as of the last day of 2020.
Since the pandemic reached Minnesota in March, a total of 5,323 people have died in the state, along with 415,302 total cases. The majority of deaths impact the elderly population living in long-term care facilities.
The seven-day average positivity rate has been falling in the last few weeks. It had reached 5.1% as of Dec. 22 (due to data lag). The positivity rate has not been this low since the first week of October, and if it falls below 5% in the coming days, that’s the threshold the state considers cause for caution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Minnesota has one of the lowest seven-day averages for case positivity in the country.
A number of other figures by which the state considers whether or not we’re in high risk territory are also continuing to fall. The number of new cases per 100,000 residents is at 35, significantly down from the peak of 124 in early November.
And the number of COVID hospitalizations per 100,000 residents is just over 15, compared with about 34 in mid-November. There are currently 895 people in Minnesota hospitals with the disease, of which 196 are in the ICU. According to the response capacity dashboard, 89% of the ICU beds state-wide are currently in use.
The one benchmark that has not seen a return toward normalcy is community spread. As of Dec. 22, 36% of positive cases had no known source.
In the last 24 hours, MDH says that 48,440 COVID tests were processed.
Testing sites will be closed on Thursday and Friday due to the New Year holiday, which will mean that daily figures will likely not affect current realities.
Over 5.5 million tests have been processed since March, and over 2.9 million Minnesotans have been tested for the virus.
VACCINES IN MINNESOTA
More than 46,000 Minnesotans have already been vaccinated, with all but about 1,000 of those being the Pfizer version.
Minnesota health officials on Wednesday held their last call of the year, providing updates on the administration of the COVID vaccine in the state. Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said the state is still in phase 1A, which is for health care and long-term care facility workers.
She said Minnesotans who are not in a high risk age group, are not an essential worker, and don’t have underlying health conditions should not expect to get the vaccine until late spring or early summer.
The next group to be vaccinated, likely in February, will be people over 75.
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