By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials on Wednesday reported 3,886 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40 new deaths.

The additional figures bring the state’s total case count to 729,334 and 8,243 deaths. The seven-day average positivity rate has climbed up to 7.3%, now into the “caution” category, but still below the “high risk” range.

12,758,518 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Minnesota and a total of 38,573 state residents have been hospitalized with 7,811 people requiring ICU hospitalization.

On Tuesday Gov. Tim Walz called lawmakers to approve a series of new measures to respond to the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and school staff, and for long-term care workers.

He urged lawmakers to approve the measures during a special session to approve a $250 million bonus package for frontline workers who risked their lives in the pandemic.

At the University of Minnesota new data is out on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in those who’ve already been infected.

More than 1,000 Minnesotans did test positive for the virus, leaving some to wonder if those who do have natural immunity actually need to get vaccinated. It turns out the answer to that question was actually discovered on the Minneapolis campus.

U immunologist Dr. Marc Jenkins and his team found that people who have not had COVID-19 and get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines get solid protection from the virus, about 100-150 Memory B cells per million. But people who have had COVID-19 get six times that protection from just the first dose of the vaccine, which is about 600 Memory B cells.

Jenkins also says those who have had COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer may have so much protection they will not need a booster shot. The study did not include the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Gov. Walz also expanded community testing in Mankato, St. Cloud, Moorhead, and Winona Wednesday afternoon beginning Oct. 15. Each site is increasing its weekly capacity by approximately 500 tests for a max weekly capacity of approximately 2,500 per site.