Minnesota is dealing with something new in the COVID-19 pandemic: good news.
Nearly every key COVID-19 metric is quickly heading down. Cases are averaging just over 1,000 per day, down from 3,000 per day. Less than 5 percent of Minnesota’s tests are coming back positive, half from early February. And hospitalizations are at their lowest level in six months, with fewer than 100 ICU beds used for COVID patients, down from close to 400 in December.
Counts are dropping in every age group and every racial or ethnic group.
And Minnesota’s not alone, neighboring states are also seeing steep declines.
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Another encouraging sign comes from the Metropolitan Council’s wastewater analysis in the Twin Cities. Their measurements of COVID-19 particles in metro wastewater match up closely with case counts. They show levels not seen since last July.
Though improvement is across the state, some places are showing better numbers than others. Per capita case counts are twice as high in northwestern Minnesota than the metro area. The northwest has the highest case levels in the state, but even they are a fraction of where they were in January.
A possible twist in the numbers comes from a variant of COVID-19. The BA.2 variant of the COVID-19 virus has been detected in the state. But, so far, there no signs it’s causing any sort of spike in new cases. Most COVID in Minnesota is the original BA.1 strain.
Based on how the virus has behaved in the past, we can probably expect the next month or so to be pretty good. Beyond that, all bets are off.