'Very encouraging signs': COVID-19 hospitalizations, positive tests down in Minnesota
Minnesota reported one new COVID-19 death on Monday — a Ramsey County resident in their early 80s.
It's the first time the daily death toll has been that low since late August.
The average test positivity rate is 3.6% for the last week, which is below the caution category, said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm on a Monday call with reporters. In some parts of the state, the number of cases per 100,000 residents is still considered high-risk.
"It's very important that we keep looking at these numbers very carefully and looking for any regional variations," Malcolm said.
The state gained 561 new cases of COVID-19, including 20 in Stearns County, four in Benton County and eight in Sherburne, according to Monday's report from the Department of Health.
The number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus reached 479,591 cases Monday and 6,433 people have died, according to MDH.
The state is still monitoring clusters of cases in bars, restaurants and gyms, said Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann on the Monday call. There were 23 outbreaks linked to gyms and other workout facilities in January.
Ehresmann urged people not to go to gyms if they've been exposed to someone with a COVID-19 infection, and when they do go to the gym to wear masks, maintain distance from others and keep equipment and hands clean.
"Our overall numbers are looking much better than they did two months ago, but we still need to keep up our guard," Ehresmann said. "There has been a lot of focus on restaurants and bars, but people need to remember that there is a risk in any indoor setting that brings people from different households together. There are measures you can take to reduce the risk, but those measures don't bring the risk to zero."
Here are the latest COVID-19 totals for the counties around St. Cloud:
- Stearns County: 18,664 cases and 200 deaths.
- Benton County: 4,405 cases and 90 deaths.
- Sherburne County: 8,645 cases and 73 deaths.
Since the start of the pandemic, 25,478 people have required hospitalization in the state, including 5,264 in intensive care.
On Monday, 235 people were in Minnesota hospitals with COVID-19, including 48 in intensive care, Malcolm said. That's the lowest number of beds in use for COVID care since September and the lowest number of ICU beds in use since early April.
"Those are very encouraging signs indeed," Malcolm said.
According to MDH, 466,311 coronavirus patients no longer need isolation.
In Minnesota, nearly 760,000 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and more than 350,000 have received both doses, according to the Health Department's vaccine dashboard.
In Stearns County 14.6% of the population have received at least one shot of the vaccine. In Benton County 10.3% have received at least one dose. And in Sherburne County 7.9% of the population have started the vaccine.
Bad weather last week caused the delay of some vaccine shipments to Minnesota and required some providers to reschedule vaccination appointments, Ehresmann said. Those doses are expected to arrive this week, and the doses planned for this week will be slightly delayed but still arrive this week.
"We really appreciate the extra work that so many people are doing who are administering the vaccine," Malcolm said. "Everybody is working extra hard to maximize the number of doses they can administer in the coming days with this unusual situation. There's a lot of scrambling going on. We appreciate Minnesotan's patience with potential rescheduling. But folks are going to work really hard to administer a higher number of doses in a sort amount of time."
Globally, there are more than 111.5 million cases of COVID-19, including more than 28.1 million in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. Nearly 2.5 million people have died of the infection worldwide, including more than 499,000 people in the U.S.