MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials on Friday reported 2,659 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, as hospitalizations and daily positivity rates continue to climb.

As of Thursday afternoon there were 595 Minnesotans in the hospital with COVID-19, of which 134 were in the ICU; a number not seen since mid-January.

The hospitalization rate has risen to the “high risk” category, with 8.8 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. Case numbers has also been climbing since early March, and as of March 31, there have been 31.6 new cases per 100,000 residents.

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The seven-day average positivity rate has reached 6.6%, crossing into the “caution” threshold at the end of March. At the same time, community spread is as high as ever; 45% of those who contract the virus do not know where they got it.

Health officials have confirmed that the rise in cases is linked to the B.1.1.7 variant, which originated in the U.K.

Racing against the spread of the new variant is vaccine distribution; as of Wednesday, more than 29% Minnesotans have completed the vaccine series. In all, the state has administered over 3.1 million doses, and 44% of those 16 and older have received at least one dose.

The vaccine data dashboard also indicates that 83.3% of those 65 and older have received at least one dose, while 47.1% between 50 and 64 have received one shot.

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MDH says that since last March, 537,828 Minnesotans have contracted COVID-19. In all, 6,932 people have died.

In the last 24 hours, more than 56,000 COVID-19 tests have been processed; since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 3.7 million Minnesotans have been tested for the virus.