COVID-19 in MN: Hospitalizations surge outside Twin Cities as cases climb

A woman wears PPE while cleaning a hospital room.
Wearing full PPE, environmental services worker Elissa Marty cleans the room of a COVID-19 positive patient while the patient is out of the room for treatment inside of a Mayo Clinic medical ICU at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., on Dec. 31, 2020.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2020

3 things to know:

  • 3,886 newly confirmed or probable cases, 40 newly reported deaths

  • 21,816 known, active cases; 864 currently hospitalized

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

Minnesota’s spreading COVID-19 outbreak has been pummeling greater Minnesota for weeks, and hospitals are feeling the impact. For the first time in the pandemic, there are more COVID patients hospitalized in greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities region.

The pressure is significant. COVID accounts for less than 10 percent of hospitalized patients in the Twin Cities area and in southeastern Minnesota, but that percentage is nearly twice as high or more in much of the rest of the state.

Graph showing COVID-19 hospitalizations by region

Across Minnesota, 864 people are in hospital beds currently with COVID, including 224 ICU cases, counts higher than in the April surge.

The Health Department’s daily count of known, active cases came in at 21,816 on Wednesday, hovering near its highest point in 2021. The state’s averaged more than 3,000 new cases a day over the last seven reporting days, a level not seen since mid-December.

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Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

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

They’re surging in every age group, from the very young to the very old. The disease is still most prevalent among teenagers, but the trend from recent weeks of only growth among kids is no longer true.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by age

The rate of tests coming back positive, which had stayed relatively stable through the spring and early summer, is now showing some upward strength. The seven-day average is running at more than 7 percent — higher than the 5 percent officials find concerning and the highest since January.

While it’s not skyrocketing as it did in the last year’s late-fall wave, it’s not retreating. That’s an indication that the disease’s spread is growing.

The state's death toll stands at 8,243 including 40 deaths newly reported on Wednesday. Among those were two people younger than age 30.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

The entire state except for Cook County in the Arrowhead shows a high level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases are surging especially in northwestern Minnesota.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

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