MinnPost Tuesday provides weekly updates on the Coronavirus in Minnesota covering COVID-19 in Minnesota from last Wednesday to the present.
This week in COVID-19 news
As the delta coronavirus outbreak continues to rise in Minnesota and across the nation, more governments and businesses are implementing – or considering – the need for vaccines or masks.
University of Minnesota officials said Monday that the school will require vaccines for students as soon as the federal government fully approves them. Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that he expects the US Food and Drug Administration to finalize it by the end of August. Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are being administered under what is known as an emergency use authorization.
The Associated Press reports that as more colleges require vaccines for students, school officials are concerned about people buying fake vaccine cards.
Also at the local level, the Minnesota State Fair is considering an indoor mask mandate.
Nationally, the US military plans to require its soldiers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. American Federation of Teachers President Randy Weingarten endorsed a vaccine mandate for teachers across the country.
Top US and global medical experts say COVID-19 vaccines are safe and extremely effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths from the disease and will prevent most mild cases of the coronavirus. Most deaths from COVID-19 have not been vaccinated, and governments often require vaccines for other diseases. For example, according to the AP, military members can receive up to 17 different vaccines under certain circumstances, and Minnesota public schools require children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, chickenpox and more.
Some politicians and other officials still object to the vaccine mandate, saying the government should not force people to make a medical decision they do not want. Texas has also banned mask requirements in schools and Arkansas has banned all mask requirements. But Texas’ rule has been challenged in court and a judge in Arkansas temporarily blocked that state’s regulation. “Any mandate for a COVID-19 vaccine must be negotiated locally,” said Education Minnesota President Dennis Specht.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health said it would release weekly data on “breakthrough” COVID-19 cases, which occur when someone who is fully vaccinated contracts COVID-19.
The state says it has identified 5,599 people – out of about 2.95 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans as of July 11 – who got COVID-19. Of those with known success cases, 514 have been hospitalized and 57 (0.002 percent) have died.
Data from MDH shows that the state added 5,601 new COVID-19 cases on an average of 800 new cases per day in the seven days between August 4 and August 10. This is higher than the daily average of 593 new cases a week ago. At the height of the pandemic in late November of 2020, Minnesota reported an average of more than 7,000 new cases per day.
The most recent seven-day positivity average – or the average share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests – is 4.9 per cent, up from 4 per cent a week ago. The case-positivity average has increased significantly over the past three weeks, and is now below the 5 per cent threshold, which the state considers a related sign of disease spread.
deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota reported 27 new COVID-19 deaths in the past week, up from 22 the week before. (Deaths do not necessarily occur in the same week in which they were reported because deaths are not always reported and immediately confirmed.)
The rapid increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota continues. As of Tuesday, 92 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 241 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 75 were in intensive care and 173 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information about current hospitals in Minnesota here.
The most recent data shows that 57.8 percent of Minnesotans (3.21 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 54.4 percent of Minnesotans (3.02 million people). had completed the vaccine series. A week earlier, 57 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 54 had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.