COVID-19 in MN: Newest cases hitting unvaccinated, including children

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Hannah Yang | MPR News file

3 things to know

  • 1,336 newly confirmed cases reported Friday; six newly reported deaths

  • 70 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have at least one shot of vaccine

  • Positive test rate for COVID-19 moves closer to concerning levels

Updated: 3 p.m.

Minnesota continues to see increasing COVID-19 cases, but the summer spike still doesn’t compare to waves seen earlier in the pandemic. However, trends are pushing toward levels that health officials find concerning.

Friday’s Health Department data showed Minnesota averaging just over 1,000 new cases per day over the last seven reporting days, up significantly from about 91 daily at the start of July. Known active cases in that stretch have gone from 780 to back above 8,600.

Cases are rising in all age groups, but it’s hitting the unvaccinated hardest, including kids who aren’t yet eligible for shots.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

The rate of tests coming back positive for COVD-19 in the past reporting week, now at 4.62 percent, is nearing the 5 percent threshold that officials find concerning.

The surge comes as federal officials have authorized third Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for some immunocompromised patients.

That groups includes solid organ transplant patients, people with some types of cancer and advanced and untreated HIV.

Percent of COVID-19 tests to come back positive

With the rise of the highly contagious delta variant, many institutions around the state are reinstating indoor masking.

Thanks to vaccinations, Minnesota is in a much better position than in November or April. The state reached 70 percent of residents 16 and older with at least one vaccination shot on Thursday. That offers some hope this will remain a relatively mild wave.

Deaths also remain fairly moderate even as cases and hospitalizations have risen. Malcolm said that’s due directly to vaccinations.

“We are not seeing the same proportionate rise in the numbers of deaths as we’ve seen in prior waves,” she said.

On the downside, data shows this current wave is hitting Black Minnesotans especially hard.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

About 70.1 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the latest data; 66.3 percent are completely vaccinated. Add in some 111,000 12-to-15-year-olds and Minnesota counts over 3 million people completely vaccinated.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

Among those vaccinated, almost 5,600 people — well below 1 percent — have gone on to get COVID-19 with 514 ending up hospitalized and 57 dying, Malcolm said, calling the data “amazing evidence” of the vaccines’ protection.

Wide gaps remain in the vaccination rate among Minnesota regions.

Listen to Friday’s COVID-19 briefing from Minnesota public health officials: