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Minnesota COVID hospitalizations on rise again as test positivity rates soar

Minneapolis and St. Paul are reinstating public masking requirements as COVID cases soar once again.

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ST. PAUL — Encouraging downward trends in Minnesota COVID-19 cases, test positivity rates and hospitalizations are reversing as the highly infectious omicron variant fuels a spike in infections nationwide.

At 13.4%, the state's seven-day rolling average test positivity rate is the highest seen since November 2020, according to the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 report for Wednesday, Jan. 5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's threshold for high risk of community spread is 10%.

In response to yet another surge in cases, Minneapolis and St. Paul on Wednesday both announced plans to reinstate public masking requirements at all businesses and city-controlled facilities. The requirements go into effect in both cities Thursday evening.

“I certainly support them in their move,” Gov. Tim Walz said on an unrelated virtual roundtable meeting. “No one likes to wear the masks, but no one likes to see people get sick and overwhelm our hospitals.”

Walz said he didn’t plan to issue a statewide mask mandate as local officials had expressed a desire to have more authority and he anticipated that in some parts of the state that Minnesotans wouldn’t oblige by the requirement.

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Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are rebounding as infections climb again, growing for a second day straight after dropping in late December. Nearly 99% of adult intensive care unit beds in the state were occupied Tuesday, with none available in northeast Minnesota. Only 13 were available statewide.

The state on Wednesday reported 4,149 COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths, including a person from Ramsey County between the ages of 25 and 29. Of the 10,671 who have died of COVID-19 in Minnesota, 39 were under the age of 30.

Minnesota's seven-day average for case rates per 100,000 also continued to grow, reaching 72.8. The threshold for high risk of community spread is 10 per 100,000, a level the state has remained well above since August.

Following are the MDH COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Wednesday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 4,149
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 72.8 (as of 12/27)
  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 1,049,310
  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 16,913
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 13.4% (as of 12/28)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,405
  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 51,323
  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 71
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 10,671

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,764,738 or 72.2% of ages 5 and up
  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,530,683 or 67.7% of ages 5 and up
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 1,761,574
Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
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