By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported 2,077 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths, as over 62,000 people have received their booster shot.

The additional numbers brings the state’s total case count to 708,220 since March of 2020 and 8,140 deaths. Three of Wednesday’s newly-reported deaths took place prior to September of 2021.

The seven-day average positivity rate has dipped slightly, down to 6.6% from a recent spike of 7.1%. The figure is still in the “caution” category, but has yet to reach the “high risk” category of 10%.

Daily new cases has reached 40.5 per 100,000 residents, a number higher than it was during the spring 2021 wave of the pandemic; the last time it was this high was in December of 2020, when the state was coming down from the fall spike.

Testing numbers too are up in recent weeks; there has been a significant spike since the beginning of the month, with 485.8 COVID-19 tests completed per 10,000 residents. In the last 24 hours, over 35,000 COVID-19 tests have been processed by the state.

Meanwhile, over 6.4 million vaccine doses have been administered to residents, and 69.9% of those 16 and older have completed the vaccine series. State data shows that 53% of 12- to 15-year-olds have received their first dose, while 91% of those 65 and older have received their first shot.

According to the MDH, 800 people were in Minnesota hospitals as of Tuesday afternoon, of which 206 were in the ICU. Data shows that 1.7% of ICU beds in the metro are available for use, with areas in the southwest and northwest portion of the state also experiencing availability levels lower than 5%.

As cases in Minnesota schools continue to spike – with hundreds of cases reported since kids went back into the classroom – school districts are adjusting their COVID-19 plans, and some have shifted to distance learning. On Thursday, Minneapolis public school teachers will call on the district to make changes to COVID-19 safety and will picket outside Justice Page Middle School to try and get a more decisive response from the district. So far this school year, two school staffers have died due to COVID-19.