By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A day after the CDC endorsed Pfizer booster shots for millions of older and vulnerable Americans, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 2,997 new COVID-19 cases and 27 additional deaths.

The additional figures bring the state’s total to 697,182 cases since March of 2020 and 8,076 deaths. Five of the deaths reported Friday were victims who died before September. One person from Hennepin County was in their late-20s.

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At the same time, the seven-day average positivity rate is at 6.9%, down slightly from the 7.1% reported last week. It’s still above 5%, which means it is in the “caution” category but below the 10% threshold for “high risk.”

New cases per 100,000 residents have been climbing in past weeks and is now at 38.4. Health officials have noted the rise in COVID-19 cases among children as they return to school. Edison High School in Minneapolis switched to online learning earlier this week due to a “significant” exposure.

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Hospitalizations are similarly on the rise, as systems across the state report shortages in pediatric and ICU beds.There are now 12.6 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents, with over 750 people in the hospital as of Thursday afternoon. MDH data shows that 213 people are in ICU beds and 539 people are in non-ICU beds. The majority of patients in the hospital are unvaccinated.

In all the state has administered over 6.3 million vaccine doses, with 60.9% of the total population receiving at least one dose. Over 91% of those 65 and older are fully vaccinated, and 53% of 12-to-15-year-olds have their first dose.

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MDH says 669,722 people who have contracted COVID-19 no longer need to self-isolate.