Minnesota health officials on Friday reported another 56 COVID-19 deaths in the state, bringing the overall pandemic death toll to 9,338.
The state is averaging more than 30 deaths a day, over the past seven reporting days — the highest that average has been since mid-January. The number of people being treated for COVID in Minnesota hospitals remains near 2021 highs. And the number of active COVID cases in the state remains near levels not seen in nearly a year.
But amid that grim news, there are some potential encouraging signs in the trajectory of the pandemic in Minnesota as the state enters the holiday season.
Friday’s update showed 4,131 new COVID cases in Minnesota — still an alarmingly high number, but also a week-over-week decline in new cases.
Averaged over the past seven reporting days, Minnesota is averaging about 4,175 new cases a day — down from nearly 4,500 early last week.
The average test positivity rate is inching down as well. It’s now just over 9%, down from more than 10% last week.
Friday’s update represents data as of Wednesday; there was a lag time in reporting because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
It remains to be seen whether the downturn in case counts and the test positivity rate are a momentary shift in the numbers, or the start of something more enduring.
Driven by the highly contagious delta variant, the entire state shows a high level of COVID-19 transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The current surge is being driven largely by rising case counts in greater Minnesota.
As of Friday’s update, 65% of eligible Minnesotans — those ages 5 and older — have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. That includes about 21% of kids in the 5-11 age group who just became eligible for the vaccine earlier this month.
When focused just on Minnesotans who’ve been eligible for the vaccine for longer — people ages 12 and older — the rate of people with at least one dose is 75%. More than 71% are fully vaccinated.
However, the struggle continues to get first shots into more Minnesotans. Wide gaps remain in the vaccination rates among regions and counties.
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