COVID cases surge in Minnesota as threat ‘remains very high’


Minnesota's COVID-19 indicators continued to show a worsening pandemic on Tuesday with more cases and hospitalizations, including a surge of newly reported infections over the weekend that exceeded the state's capacity for logging cases.

The latest data from the Minnesota Department of Health added 7,173 new cases to the state's pandemic totals, a figure that captures reporting for Saturday and Sunday and continued a trend of rising daily cases over the past two weeks.

Over the weekend, however, the high volume of new cases meant that staffing wasn't sufficient to process all the data, the Health Department said. The tally reported on Tuesday is about 2,500 cases shy of the true count for Saturday and Sunday.

"We are taking steps to boost staff capacity, but we anticipate this backlog will impact new case data at least through Wednesday, Nov. 10," the Health Department said in a statement. "The marked increase in case growth is another reminder that the threat of COVID-19 remains very high in Minnesota."

The statewide tally for patients hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 1,122, which is the highest figure thus far in 2021. The share of tests coming back positive is up to 9.1%, which is another record for 2021 and well beyond the state's 5% "caution" threshold.

The Health Department reported another 20 deaths connected with COVID-19 including a Ramsey County resident age 45-49. In general, people age 65 and older are at greatest risk for serious illness, but younger adults have made up a larger percentage of all deaths during the latest wave of COVID-19.

Tuesday's data release includes cases reported over a three-day period spanning 4 a.m. Friday through 4 a.m. Monday.

"To bring that [COVID-19] threat back down, Minnesotans need to do their part consistently to slow transmission," the Health Department said. "This means getting vaccinated when eligible, masking when you are in a public indoor setting, staying home when sick, and getting tested as appropriate."

The seven-day average for new cases in Minnesota peaked last November at just over 7,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Case counts declined through January and February, before a spring rebound across the state that peaked at more than 2,300 cases per day in April.

Case counts dropped to fewer than 100 per day at one point this summer, but started picking up again in July with the spread of the more infectious delta variant. CDC data show the most recent surge seemed to peak at about 3,000 new cases per day on Oct. 12 before declining into the third week of October.

However, there's been a resurgence over the last two weeks. Recent new case totals have risen from a seven-day average of 1,849 cases on Oct. 24 to 2,786 on Nov. 7. The CDC numbers don't yet include Minnesota's data from Monday and Tuesday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.