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Daily COVID-19 update: Uptick in average daily case counts

The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day in Minnesota steadily dropped through most of December.

As the new year begins, though, that decline might be stalling. State health officials will be watching closely in the coming days and weeks to see whether it’s a momentary pause, or a more lasting change in the trajectory of the pandemic.

Averaged over the past week, Minnesota is seeing about 1,895 new COVID cases a day. That’s up from about 1,700 earlier in the week — though still a huge decline from averages that exceeded 7,000 a day in late November.

The test positivity rate is up in recent days, too — averaged over the past week it was about 7.1 percent on Saturday, up from about 4.7 percent on Dec. 27.

It’s too early to tell whether those upticks will endure, but it’s something that will be closely monitored. Officials already were watching for signs of any case increases that might be tied to end-of-year holiday gatherings.

COVID-19 vaccinations continue around the state; as of Saturday’s update from the Minnesota Department of Health, just over 57,000 people had received at least one of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Health care workers and long-term care facility residents have priority for the limited number of doses currently available.

The state has so far received nearly 170,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and nearly 128,000 of the Moderna vaccine.

COVID updates from state health officials resumed Saturday, after a break on Friday for the New Year’s Day holiday. Saturday’s update includes data from Thursday; Sunday’s update will include two days’ worth of data, from Friday and Saturday.

Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics, reported on Saturday:

  • 5,377 deaths (54 new)
  • 417,832 positive cases (2,543 new), 398,199 off isolation (95 percent)
  • 5.6 million tests, 3 million people tested (about 52 percent of the population)
  • 7.1 percent seven-day positive test rate (officials find 5 percent concerning)

 

Caseloads spread across age groups

People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 79,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 42,000 among people ages 20 to 24.

The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 32,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.

Although less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.

It’s of particular concern because people can have the coronavirus and spread COVID-19 when they don’t have symptoms.

New cases ebb across Minnesota

Central and western Minnesota drove much of the increase in new cases over the past two months, while Hennepin and Ramsey counties showed some of the slowest case growth in the state.

Cases continue to fall statewide, with most regions dipping down to levels before the state’s COVID-19 surge that hit in November and early December.

Hot spots continue to pop up in rural counties relative to their population.

Caseloads still heaviest among people of color

In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.

Even as new case counts ease from their peak a few weeks ago, the data shows people of color continue to be hit hardest.

Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.

Similar trends have been seen among Minnesota’s Indigenous residents. Counts among Indigenous people jumped in October relative to population.

 

South-central Minnesota update

  • Faribault County: nine new lab-confirmed cases, two probable cases; 922 total cases
  • Freeborn County: 25 new lab-confirmed cases; 2,017 total cases

The Freeborn County Public Health Department reported of the total cases, 102 are considered active cases. One new person has been hospitalized, and 99 people have been hospitalized at some point during their illness.

The new cases included the following:

• One person between 0 and 4

• Two people between 10 and 14

• Three people in their 20s

• Six people in their 30s

• Two people in their 40s

• Four people in their 50s

• Five people in their 60s

• One person in their 80s

• One person in their 90s

  • Mower County: 22 new lab-confirmed cases; 3,343 total cases
  • Steele County: 16 new lab-confirmed cases; 2,528 total cases
  • Waseca County: 16 new lab-confirmed cases, one new probable case; 1,772 total cases

 

Minnesota COVID-19 cases, deaths

County Total confirmed cases Total probable cases Total cases Total deaths
Aitkin 1,007 22 1,029 32
Anoka 27,100 2,016 29,116 327
Becker 2,647 50 2,697 36
Beltrami 2,775 117 2,892 42
Benton 3,750 173 3,923 80
Big Stone 430 9 439 3
Blue Earth 5,034 38 5,072 28
Brown 1,979 42 2,021 32
Carlton 2,300 308 2,608 38
Carver 6,174 300 6,474 34
Cass 1,900 36 1,936 20
Chippewa 1,247 34 1,281 29
Chisago 3,987 198 4,185 28
Clay 6,116 72 6,188 78
Clearwater 640 20 660 14
Cook 104 0 104 0
Cottonwood 1,143 80 1,223 15
Crow Wing 4,464 65 4,529 67
Dakota 29,310 1,180 30,490 279
Dodge 1,179 5 1,184 4
Douglas 3,374 133 3,507 60
Faribault 914 8 922 11
Fillmore 1,103 14 1,117 1
Freeborn 2,007 10 2,017 18
Goodhue 3,063 37 3,100 47
Grant 390 3 393 7
Hennepin 84,045 2,717 86,762 1,390
Houston 1,151 47 1,198 13
Hubbard 1,376 21 1,397 37
Isanti 2,493 157 2,650 33
Itasca 2,664 39 2,703 39
Jackson 751 47 798 8
Kanabec 909 21 930 18
Kandiyohi 5,344 49 5,393 66
Kittson 305 36 341 18
Koochiching 539 11 550 9
Lac qui Parle 561 46 607 15
Lake 511 45 556 15
Lake of the Woods 147 5 152 1
Le Sueur 1,947 21 1,968 15
Lincoln 446 8 454 1
Lyon 2,790 70 2,860 29
Mahnomen 396 1 397 7
Marshall 661 16 677 12
Martin 1,555 26 1,581 25
McLeod 3,041 41 3,082 40
Meeker 1,860 27 1,887 32
Mille Lacs 1,968 66 2,034 43
Morrison 2,813 112 2,925 43
Mower 3,300 43 3,343 25
Murray 720 39 759 5
Nicollet 2,045 44 2,089 32
Nobles 3,474 63 3,537 46
Norman 410 2 412 8
Olmsted 9,380 39 9,419 62
Otter Tail 4,091 150 4,241 51
Pennington 829 77 906 14
Pine 2,383 112 2,495 12
Pipestone 847 30 877 21
Polk 3,016 192 3,208 49
Pope 687 5 692 4
Ramsey 36,020 1,310 37,330 694
Red Lake 270 41 311 4
Redwood 1,288 29 1,317 26
Renville 1,250 51 1,301 39
Rice 5,495 75 5,570 55
Rock 960 71 1,031 10
Roseau 1,494 113 1,607 14
Scott 10,755 353 11,108 83
Sherburne 7,219 493 7,712 57
Sibley 993 34 1,027 5
St. Louis 12,087 537 12,624 208
Stearns 16,500 519 17,019 173
Steele 2,520 8 2,528 9
Stevens 665 7 672 6
Swift 768 22 790 16
Todd 2,218 17 2,235 27
Traverse 191 26 217 2
Wabasha 1,502 7 1,509 2
Wadena 1,091 39 1,130 12
Waseca 1,766 6 1,772 13
Washington 17,951 659 18,610 192
Watonwan 1,019 7 1,026 7
Wilkin 572 20 592 7
Winona 3,551 35 3,586 44
Wright 10,181 723 10,904 90
Yellow Medicine 827 61 888 14
Unknown/missing 405 24 429 0