April 12 update on COVID-19 in MN: Cases, ICU needs, vaccinations all climbing

A woman waits for her vaccine.
Beverly Pratt awaits her second COVID-19 vaccination shot on Feb. 25 at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News file

3 things to know

  • About 47 percent of adults with at least one vaccine dose; more than 32 percent completely vaccinated

  • Hospital admissions, active case trends highest in months

  • Health officials say coronavirus variants likely are driving increase in new cases

Updated: 1:07 p.m.

Monday starts with hope and concern on the COVID-19 front. Minnesota is close to having half the adult population with at least one vaccine shot. The state is also approaching 7,000 deaths tied to the pandemic. Both thresholds may be crossed this week.

Vaccinations, cases, ICU needs push higher

Newly reported COVID-19 vaccine doses in Minnesota

About 32.2 percent of Minnesota adults are completely vaccinated; 47.3 percent have received at least one vaccine dose, including about 84 percent of residents age 65 and older, the state Health Department said Monday.

But as vaccination numbers increase, COVID-19 case counts continue to rise, too.

The number of known, active cases has been trending upward over the past few weeks, with more than 18,000 as of Monday’s report — marking more than three weeks with active daily counts above 10,000.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past few weeks to levels not seen since January, and deaths tied to the disease are trending up, too. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.

The state on Monday reported 651 people in Minnesota hospitals with COVID-19; 161 needed intensive care — the highest number of ICU patients since the first days of January.

Graph of new ICU and non-ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations

While still low compared to late November and early December, the rising trend is notable given the worries over the rise of the highly contagious U.K. COVID-19 variant, which state health officials suspect is driving the current upswing.

To date, the state has confirmed at least 1,600 cases of the U.K. strain. State epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said the variant is linked to five deaths here and likely responsible for the majority of the spread happening now.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said recently that while the increase in cases is concerning, the growing number of vaccinated people in Minnesota means the state likely won’t see as steep a surge in cases of the scope seen in November and December.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

Two deaths reported on Monday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 6,959. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

New COVID-19 cases in Minnesota by sample date

The state has recorded 544,046 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,994 posted Monday. About 95 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.

Regional hot spots bubble

Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. The latest numbers, however, show cases creeping up across the state.

Public health leaders continue to keep watch on clusters popping up over in recent weeks in the southwest Twin Cities metro area as well as Mankato in southern Minnesota, in central Minnesota and around Aurora and Ely in the northeast.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

Cases spread across age groups

People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 101,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 52,000 among those ages 20 to 24.

The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 43,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.

New Minnesota COVID-19 cases by age, adjusted for population

With kids increasingly returning to school buildings and sports, Minnesota public health officials are urging Minnesota families with children to get tested every two weeks for COVID-19 until the end of the school year.

Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they will spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations. Those with the coronavirus can spread it when they don’t have symptoms.

Caseloads among people of color

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.

Even as new case counts continue to track well below their late November, early December peaks, the data shows Latino people continue to be hit hard.

Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.

Officials have acknowledged that distrust by communities of color has been a problem during the pandemic. They’ve offered up some data on vaccinations broken down by race and ethnicity that they’re updating regularly.

COVID-19 in Minnesota

Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health's cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.

Latest developments

COVID outbreak in 9 MN counties linked to youth wrestling tournament in S.D.

A new outbreak of COVID-19 associated with a youth wrestling tournament has state health officials asking schools around Minnesota to double down on masking and testing.

The state has linked at least 16 cases to the Northland Youth Wrestling Association State Wrestling Tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., between March 31 and April 3.

The tournament drew 2,000 wrestlers in addition to spectators and Minnesota health officials say there was lax masking and social-distancing at the event.

Nine Minnesota counties, including Cass, Le Sueur, Lyon, Morrison, Murray, Rice, Todd, Wright and Yellow Medicine have confirmed cases. Eight schools in these regions have cases associated with the event.

The event drew 64 teams from at least 52 Minnesota counties.

State health officials are asking that any students or families that attended the event be tested immediately, and to avoid all unnecessary travel.

— Catharine Richert | MPR News

Top headlines

As vaccine eligibility expands, one southern MN health department recalibrates: Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties, a two-county public health department in southern Minnesota, requested 300 doses of vaccine to administer last week. But they’re struggling to fill appointment slots — and dealing with no-shows. So they’re asking the state Health Department to reallocate their share.

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