COVID-19 in MN: Active cases, positive test rate climb

A woman outside of a room holds up two fingers to another nurse inside.
In December 2020, nurse Jeanette Rupert uses hand signals to communicate through glass doors in the COVID-19 ICU unit at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2020

3 things to know:

  • 3,546 newly confirmed or probable cases, 17 newly reported deaths

  • 21,909 known, active cases; 819 currently hospitalized

  • 73.5 percent of 16-and-older residents with at least one vaccine dose

Updated 1:45 p.m.

Minnesota’s summer-fall COVID-19 surge stubbornly refuses to crest.

The latest data shows new and active cases continuing to climb above levels Minnesota saw during its mid-April wave. Equally concerning: The rate of tests coming back positive for the disease is now higher than it’s been since January.

The Health Department’s daily count of known, active cases climbed to 21,909 on Monday, reaching its highest point so far in 2021. The state’s averaged more than 2,600 new cases a day over the last seven reporting days, levels not seen since December.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Cases continue to rise, driven since late summer by the highly contagious delta variant.

Minnesotans younger than 20 continue to drive many of those new caseloads, while 20-somethings — the demographic that’s seen the most total cases during the pandemic — are running at an all-time low share.

The rate of tests coming back positive has stayed relatively stable but is now showing some upward strength. The seven-day average is running at 6.4 percent, higher than the 5 percent officials find concerning.

While it’s not skyrocketing as it has in other waves, it’s not retreating. That’s an indication that the disease’s spread is growing.

Cases are rising in every age group, but the highest rates continue to be in people ages 10-19.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by age

The state's death toll stands at 8,191 including 21 deaths newly reported on Monday.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

Much of the recent increases are bubbling up from areas of Minnesota outside the Twin Cities region, although the entire state except for Cook County in the Arrowhead is showing a high level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention map.

Cases are surging especially in northwestern Minnesota. The region over the past week has averaged 98 new cases per day per 100,000 people — a level as high as Hennepin and Ramsey counties saw during the state’s brutal late-fall wave.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

Current hospital and intensive care needs have risen during this summer-fall wave — 819 people are in hospital beds currently with COVID-19, including 213 ICU cases.

ICU cases are back up again after ticking down the prior week. Overall, hospitalizations remain higher than in the April surge.

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

Minnesota remains better positioned now than during its fall and spring spikes. More than 72 percent of state residents age 12 and older have received at least one vaccination shot, with more than two-thirds completely vaccinated.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

It remains a slow march, though, to get more Minnesotans vaccinated, and wide gaps remain in the vaccination rates among regions and counties.

Map of Minnesota COVID-19 eligible vaccination rate

The Twin Cities region has the state’s highest vaccination rate and its lowest case rate currently. Northeastern and southeastern Minnesota have the next highest vaccination rates and the next highest case rates.

Central and western Minnesota have the lowest vaccination rates and highest case rates.

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