Minnesota health officials on Monday reported the highest number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 since mid-May, along with five new deaths and 1,470 new infections, with a slight increase in infections among those who have been fully vaccinated.
Minnesota hospitals were treating 411 coronavirus patients as of Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Monday. That's up from up from 90 in mid-July. Of those current patients, 109 were sick enough to warrant intensive care.
More than 7,000 residents vaccinated against the virus have been infected, but health officials said that the rate of infection is low amid the 3 million Minnesotans who are vaccinated. State officials will continue to encourage vaccinations as the best tool against the pandemic, with Gov. Tim Walz extending a $100 incentive program for new vaccine recipients for one more week. More than 55,000 newly-vaccinated Minnesotans have claimed rewards since the program began around two weeks ago.
“Although we are seeing a slightly greater proportion of breakthrough cases, the vaccines are continuing to do their job,” state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann told the Star Tribune.
Nearly all hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 now come from people who are not vaccinated. Minnesota has reported 60 people who died after being vaccinated. That is just 0.002 percent of people who have been vaccinated in the state.
The number of cases and hospitalizations is once again rising in Minnesota as the delta virus variant threatens a new wave of cases. About 55 percent of the state's population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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