By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — As more Minnesotans seek to get COVID-19 tests following the holidays and the rise of the omicron variant, the state’s health department reports the highest average rolling positivity rate the state has seen since the start of the pandemic, at 15.6%.

At the peak of the fall 2020 wave, the seven-day average positivity rate hit 14.8%; a 15.5% positivity rate was reported in late April of 2020. Any data point above 10% is considered “high risk.”

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Daily new cases per 100,000 residents are also on the rise, hitting 96.6 as of Dec. 30. (There is a data lag with figures reported by the MDH.)

The Minnesota Hospital Association in a statement on Friday urged people to look for tests in settings other than hospital emergency rooms due to a high number of patients statewide. Emergency departments, intensive care and surgical units are full, which is increasing wait times for medical emergencies and causing surgeries to be canceled.

“We have run out of words to describe what we are undergoing — a crisis does not even come close; hospitals are literally full,” the association said. “We urgently need the public’s help to keep our emergency departments available for medical emergencies. Please do not go to emergency departments or urgent care centers for a COVID-19 test.”

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On Friday, Minnesota reported 7,833 new cases and 33 more deaths. The latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health place the total case count at 1,064,065, which includes 18,219 reinfections. Since the start of the pandemic, 10,766 Minnesotans have died from the virus.

Of the deaths announced on Friday, 12 were from December, and 21 took place after the new year.

In hospitals, there were 1,198 Minnesotans in non-ICU beds on Wednesday afternoon, and an additional 269 in intensive care. Staffed ICU bed availability for adults is in the single digits statewide.

A total of 8,825,025 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, including 1.79 million boosters. Of the state’s 5 and older population, 72.4% have received at least one shot.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)