MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As hospitalizations continue to grow in Minnesota due to the Delta variant, health officials on Thursday reported an additional 2,484 virus cases and 14 more deaths, including one person in their 20s in Dakota County.

Meanwhile, the latest positivity rate is still on the way up, at 7.1%. 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%.

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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 209. (The peak number of recorded ICU patients with COVID-19 was at the beginning of Dec. 2020, at nearly 400.) Additionally, there are currently 510 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in non-ICU beds.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the number of health care workers dwindling. Filling the staffing gaps means incentives for new hires and searching for travel nurses. But competition is fierce. The demand for travel nurses around the country has become so high, some job openings offer anywhere from $5,000 to $9,000 in pay per week.

The state’s total positive cases have risen to 678,978 since the pandemic began, with 7,970 deaths attributed to the virus.

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As of Thursday 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 6,320,203 doses of vaccine, with about 3.18 million residents having completed their vaccine series.

There are also a reported 30.5 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.

Minnesota health officials announced Wednesday that a new app can give users quick access to their COVID-19 vaccination records.

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