Minnesota sees rise in COVID-19 after vacation, hopes for peak

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The pandemic worsened after brief improvements from the Thanksgiving holiday, reaching levels not seen in Minnesota since last December, before the COVID-19 vaccine was made available.

Minnesota on Monday reported an 11.5% positivity rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests – an indicator of widespread viral transmission – and a record infection rate of 2021 during the week ending December 3. The 1,677 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota on Friday included 342 people requiring intensive care.

Minnesota could follow the trend of mountain states such as Colorado and Montana, which have seen their coronavirus infections drop after peaking last month. But hospital leaders are bracing for sustained pressure. As of Friday, only 13 of 1,012 staffed adult intensive care beds were open in Minnesota.

Executives from nine hospital systems in Minnesota on Sunday signed a full-page ad in the Star Tribune and other publications asking people to help by researching COVID-19 vaccines and recalls and using mask-wearing practices and social distancing to reduce viral spread.

“At any time, you or a loved one might need our support,” they wrote, “Heart attacks. Car accidents. Cancer. Stroke. Appendicitis. Now a worrying question looms: will you be able to get care from your local community. to the hospital without delay? Today it is uncertain. “

The pressure on hospital emergency rooms increased over the weekend as cases of COVID-19 combined with accidents and injuries from the first major winter storm of the season.

“We have seen some significant injuries related to motor vehicle crashes and our typical injuries related to slipping on icy sidewalks,” said Dr. Thomas Wyatt, senior director of emergencies for Hennepin Healthcare at HCMC in Minneapolis.

State leaders believe Minnesota is a victim of timing, with a wave of COVID-19 fueled by a highly infectious delta variant migrating from the South this summer to the Midwest this fall, just as those first vaccinated began to feel a shock. decreasing immunity. Boosters are recommended to restore immunity in adults six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations, or two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.

Minnesota has the third highest rate in the country of new coronavirus infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but there are encouraging signs. Trend data from the CDC indicates that Minnesota’s infection rate may have peaked on December 6, and the Mayo Clinic’s 14-day pandemic forecast predicts infection rates will begin to decline. next week.

Minnesota ranks second among states with 43% of fully vaccinated adults receiving boosters, and those gains combined with immunity after recent infections are affecting Mayo’s forecast, said Curtis Storlie, creator of the COVID-19 predictive model. of Mayo.

Meanwhile, he said states such as Missouri and Kentucky that had previously had COVID-19 delta waves this summer are seeing second waves this winter as their vaccinees experience waning immunity.

These states are likely to experience “a double delta peak, while Minnesota is more likely to have only one,” Storlie said.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 3,655 more infections and 46 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing its pandemic toll to 960,425 infections and 9,918 deaths. The newly reported deaths include a Becker County resident aged 25 to 29, the state’s 34th COVID-19 death involving someone under the age of 30.

The breakthrough infections contributed to the latest wave, prompting the call for recalls, according to the latest state data released on Monday. Fully vaccinated Minnesotans accounted for 32% of coronavirus infections and 35% of COVID-19 deaths from May to September, but 43% of infections and 45% of COVID-19 deaths during the five-week period ending November 13.

The relative risks remain highest among the estimated 1 million unvaccinated Minnesotans, who constitute the majority of COVID-19 cases and deaths but the minority of the state’s population.

The median age of deaths from COVID-19 from May to mid-November was 69 for the unvaccinated and 82 for the vaccinated, according to state health data. And 19% of recent deaths from COVID-19 in the unvaccinated population involved people who were otherwise healthy and had no underlying health conditions. This compares to 11% of deaths in the vaccinated population.

Governor Tim Walz on Monday celebrated the draw for a second $ 100,000 college scholarship for vaccinated Minnesota children and urged parents to enter their children ages 12 to 17 for the third final draw later this year. The winner, Ben Truax, 16, of Rochester, was motivated by his mother, a hospital nurse who treats patients with COVID-19.

“We have also experienced loss and tragedy on the other hand for those who do not get the vaccine,” Truax said in a statement from the governor’s office, saying his relatives have lost friends to the infectious disease. .

The holidays have disrupted COVID-19 trends throughout the 21-month pandemic, in part because people seek testing before family reunions and travel, but not during the holidays itself.

Thanksgiving this year mirrored Education Minnesota Weekend in October and Thanksgiving Week last year, when COVID-19 numbers briefly declined before rising again. Christmas 2020 saw a reverse trend, briefly disrupting the end of the state’s second and most severe pandemic wave.

Health officials remain concerned about family gatherings over Christmas this year and their potential to fuel the viral spread.

Two infections have been identified in Minnesota with an omicron variant that spreads even faster and could replace delta as the dominant strain. However, Omicron could produce fewer serious illnesses, based on early findings in South Africa, where the variant was discovered.


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