ST. PAUL — So far, Minnesota has escaped the recent rise in coronavirus cases that has hit other parts of the country.
The seven-day rolling average for daily new infections has grown from fewer than 100 cases per day in late June to about 150 cases per day this week. Test-positivity has also ticked up, but remains well below the 5 percent caution threshold.
Minnesota’s hospitalization and death rates also remain near the lowest levels of the pandemic.
But low vaccination rates in rural counties and among certain groups of residents means the coronavirus, and its new more contagious variants, still have a chance to regain a foothold.
It’s already happening is states like Arkansas, Missouri, Colorado and Florida.
Nationwide, cases are up about 70 percent over just a week ago, hospital admissions have climbed about 36 percent and deaths are up 36 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rising cases in Los Angeles County prompted health officials there to require masks be worn in indoor public places, regardless of one’s vaccination status, weeks after such restrictions were eased.
Minnesota has 58 counties with fewer than 50 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Some of the counties with the lowest rates of vaccination have also been where the most new cases, per capita, have been reported this summer.
Fewer than 60 percent of the state population under 50 has gotten their first shot. Black, Hispanic and American Indian residents have lower rates of vaccination than their Asian and white neighbors.
Statewide, about 68 percent of Minnesotans ages 16 and older have gotten at least one shot.
Vaccines have proven extremely effective at preventing coronavirus infection and severe illness in those who do happen to get sick. Health officials say nearly all new cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been residents who were not vaccinated.
Out of nearly 3 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans, there have been 3,354 breakthrough cases, or a rate of roughly 0.1 percent.
There have been 52 deaths of fully vaccinated Minnesotans, or 0.002 percent, with a median age of 79. There have been 371 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 after vaccination. Minnesota recorded two more COVID-19 deaths Thursday and the state Department of Health reported 216 new infections.
The latest deaths were an Itasca County resident in their 20s, an Anoka County resident in their 50s and a Hennepin County resident in their 60s. Two resided in private homes and one in a behavioral health facility.
The death toll is 7,635 since March 2020 including 4,489 fatalities in long-term care. Deaths in long-term care facilities have declined drastically after roughly 90 percent of seniors were vaccinated.
Health officials say nearly all new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are people who are not fully vaccinated.
There are 91 patients hospitalized in Minnesota, including 19 in critical condition.
Minnesota has diagnosed 607,524 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and 598,427 people who tested positive have recovered enough they no longer need to be isolated.
More than 5.8 million vaccine doses have been administered and 3.1 million people have gotten at least one dose.