3 things to know:
Newly reported and active case counts climbing
Positive test rate nearly 10 percent again, about twice the level officials find concerning
1,313 hospitalized as of Thursday, 283 in ICU
Updated 3:25 p.m.
Minnesota’s COVID-19 roller-coaster ride continues. The latest available data shows active cases rising again following a three-week December dip. The Twin Cities metro area is seeing the bulk of new case growth.
The percentage of COVID tests coming back positive is trending at nearly 10 percent again — about twice the 5 percent rate officials find concerning — after slipping to around 7 percent in late December.
As cases have ramped up in Minnesota and across the country, and omicron seems to be spreading much faster than previous variants, it has put a strain on the state's testing sites.
Demand is up and so are long lines at several testing sites.
The testing site at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is moving to appointments only on Monday at the request of airport staff because it's too crowded there. Meanwhile, testing centers at the Minneapolis Convention Center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium are extending hours this week, opening at 9 a.m. and closing at 6 p.m.
Given that the year-end holidays are still affecting data reporting, the state’s current COVID path remains unclear. Numbers reported on Monday were for data as of 4 a.m. Thursday. Most of the newly reported cases were from last Monday and Tuesday.
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State Health Department figures showed seven-day new cases averaging 4,093 a day; known, active cases rose to 33,147. The numbers signal the growing presence of COVID’s omicron variant in Minnesota following Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings.
While hospitalizations have ebbed, counts remain relatively high — 1,313 people were hospitalized as of Thursday with COVID, 283 needed intensive care. New hospital admissions are coming down.
Hospital executives across the state have warned since late fall that COVID-19 patients combined with other care needs were overwhelming short-staffed care centers. In mid-December, leaders of nine Minnesota health care systems called the situation heartbreaking and critical.
Data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show all Minnesota counties except for Norman and Traverse currently with a high level of virus transmission.
The state's death toll stands at 10,564 including 48 deaths newly reported on Monday. Deaths typically follow a surge in cases and hospitalizations. In past COVID-19 waves, it’s been the last of the key metrics to improve.
Minnesota is better positioned now than during its fall 2020 and spring 2021 spikes thanks to vaccinations. More than 76 percent of state residents age 12 and older have received at least one vaccination shot, with more than 72 percent now completely vaccinated.
The state is seeing progress in getting boosters into Minnesotans who’ve already been vaccinated.
However, the struggle continues to get first shots into more Minnesotans. Wide gaps remain in the vaccination rates among regions and counties.
MPR News reporter Peter Cox contributed to this story.