By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A day after President Joe Biden announced sweeping new COVID-19 vaccine requirements, including mandates for federal workers and large businesses, Minnesota health officials reported on Friday 2,050 more cases of the virus and 18 more deaths.

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health puts the state’s cumulative case count at 666,496 while the death toll has reached 7,892.

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While the positivity rate appeared to be plateauing late last month, the latest figures show it again inching upward. As of last week, the average positivity rate was at 6.6%, well above what health officials consider the threshold for caution (5%) and significantly higher than it was in early July, when it hovered at around 1.1%.

The hospitalization rate for COVID-19 remains in the “high risk” category, with the latest seven-day average showing roughly 10 new admissions per 100,000 residents. As of Thursday, 695 people were battling the virus in Minnesota hospitals, with 185 patients in intensive care beds. Not since April have so many patients with COVID required ICU care.

ICU beds in the Twin Cities metro are nearly full, with only 18 staffed beds available as of Friday. The situation is even more dire for southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Minnesota, where only one staffed ICU bed is open.

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On the vaccine front, the latest figures show that 72.3% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine shot while 93% of those 65 and older have received one dose. In total, more than 6 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state, and 83,000 people have gotten a third dose. Third doses have been approved for people with certain diseases and immocompormised conditions.

As Minnesota students have returned to classrooms in recent weeks, there have been a number of reported infections. Last week, more than 100 schools from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade reported cases to health officials.

On Thursday, President Biden announced a new set of vaccine requirements that’ll effect roughly 100 million Americans. The new measures include vaccine mandates for federal workers and contractors, and a requirement that companies with more than 100 employees must mandate vaccines or regular testing for workers.

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Already, Republican leaders are pushing back against the rule for businesses, calling it unconstitutional and an overreach of the president’s office.