MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As hospitalizations continue to grow in Minnesota due to the Delta variant, health officials on Tuesday reported an additional 4,603 virus cases and 12 more deaths, including three deaths of people in their 40s.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health’s daily update, total ICU bed usage among COVID-19 patients is higher than it’s been throughout 2021, at 208. (The peak number of recorded ICU patients with COVID-19 was at the beginning of Dec. 2020, at nearly 400.) Additionally, there are currently 540 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in non-ICU; that too is as high as that figure has been since January.

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The state’s total positive cases have risen to 673,774 since the pandemic began, with 7,915 deaths attributed to the virus.

Meanwhile, the latest positivity rate is still holding steady at 6.7%. The positivity rate, which went as far down as 1.1% in late June, remains in the “caution” status; the line for high risk is drawn at 10%.

As of Tuesday morning, figures from the Minnesota Department of Health showed that about 72.6% of Minnesotans 16 or older had received at least one dose, and 93.2% of those 65 or older had received at least one dose. In total, the state has administered 6,305,107 doses of vaccine, with about 3.18 million residents having completed their vaccine series.

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There are also a reported 31 daily new cases per 100,000 Minnesota residents, which puts the state well above the line considered high risk, and still rising. The state spent the early part of summer well below the line of caution, which is drawn at only five new cases daily per 100,000 residents.

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicted Sunday that the agency he helmed would authorize Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11 by the end of October.

The Biden administration initially announced in August that it was prepared to begin offering the boosters the week of Sept. 20, and Americans would need to get their additional shots eight months after receiving their second vaccine dose. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told “Face the Nation” last week that it may only be Pfizer’s booster that receives federal approval by Sept. 20.

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