Latest on COVID-19 in MN: Deadliest stretch yet for those under 65

3 things to know:

  • The number of newly reported and active cases is increasing

  • Positive test rate of about 10%; officials find 5 percent regarding

  • 1,435 hospitalized, 255 in intensive care

COVID-19 figures after the Minnesota vacation remain confused, making it difficult to chart the disease’s next stages. One thing, however, is increasingly clear: This is the deadliest period to date in the pandemic for Minnesotans who are not in long-term care.

The overall death rate from COVID-19 in Minnesota – averaging more than 30 per day – is only half the death rate recorded in December 2020, the worst period of the pandemic to date.

But that difference is due to a lower death rate among Minnesotans in long-term care facilities, who accounted for the majority of COVID deaths in Minnesota during the first phase of the pandemic. This was despite the fact that there were less than 100,000 long-term care residents in Minnesota.

After vaccinations rolled out from December 2020, however, with a priority on vulnerable Minnesota seniors in nursing homes, the death rate plunged there. Over the past year, Minnesotans outside of long-term care facilities have accounted for the lion’s share of deaths.

In particular, COVID deaths outside of long-term care have skyrocketed since Thanksgiving. Mortality rates in long-term care facilities are higher than they were during the peak in December 2020, although the overall death rate is much lower.

Minnesota COVID-19 Deaths by Long-Term Care Status

David H. Montgomery | MPR News

This change was also evident in the data on deaths by age. During much of the pandemic, people over the age of 80 accounted for the largest share of all deaths from COVID. Over the past week, however, for the first time in any pandemic, people under 65 caused more deaths than Minnesotans 80 and over.

Seniors are still far more likely to die from COVID-19 than young people – there are far more Minnesotans under 65 than there are over 80, and yet both populations account for shares Similar deaths from COVID. But the gap has narrowed.

Graph of share of new MN COVID-19 deaths by age

Share of Newly Reported COVID-19 Deaths in Minnesota by Age

David H. Montgomery | MPR News

One big reason: vaccination rates. Over 90 percent of older Minnesotans are fully immunized, the highest rate of any age group. But this minority of unvaccinated elderly represents a disproportionate share of deaths from COVID-19.

In the week starting December 5 – the most recent data available – there were just under eight deaths per 100,000 fully vaccinated older people, compared with about 137 deaths per 100,000 older people who were not fully immunized. vaccinated. In other words, deaths from COVID-19 in the unvaccinated elderly are 17 times more common than in the vaccinated elderly.

Graph of COVID prevalence by vaccination status

Fully vaccinated Minnesotans are several times less likely to catch COVID-19 than Minnesotans who are not fully vaccinated, and much less likely to develop serious illness or die.

David H. Montgomery | MPR News

Active cases are climbing rapidly

All of this is happening as the state continues to be hit by the post-holiday wave caused by the COVID omicron mutation.

The latest figures from the state’s health department show new cases have averaged more than 6,500 per day over the past seven reporting days. Known and active cases hit nearly 47,000 – the highest since just before Thanksgiving 2020. They have jumped 40% in the past 10 days.

Active and Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota

According to calculations by MPR News, the percentage of COVID tests that come back positive tends to be around 10%, or about double the 5% that officials find worrying.

“The omicron surge has most definitely reached Minnesota,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters last week. She said it was spreading “like wildfire” here and across the country and “we just have to expect this to be the norm for us in the coming weeks.”

New cases of COVID-19 per capita by age

COVID-related hospitalizations remain high – 1,435 people are hospitalized, of which 255 require intensive care.

Graph showing COVID-19 hospitalizations by region

CEOs of hospitals across the state have been warning since late fall that they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and those with other care needs. The Minnesota Hospital Association on Friday begged people not to go to emergency rooms to request COVID tests or other non-urgent care.

“We have no more words to describe what we are going through – a crisis is not even approaching,” the group said, adding that “hospitals are literally full … intensive care is full, emergency departments are full, medico-surgical units are full, corridors are full and surgeries are canceled.

Data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that all counties in Minnesota currently have a high level of transmission of the virus.

The Twin Cities and its suburbs are the engine of the last wave.

New cases of COVID-19 by region of Minnesota

The state’s death toll stands at 10,810, including 44 newly reported deaths on Monday. Deaths usually follow an increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations. In previous COVID-19 waves, this has been the last of the key metrics to improve.

New COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota every day

Thanks to vaccinations, Minnesota is better positioned now than during its peaks in fall 2020 and spring 2021. More than 76% of state residents aged 12 and older have received at least one vaccine, and more 72% are now fully vaccinated.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

The state is seeing progress in providing boosters to Minnesotans who have already been vaccinated.

However, the fight continues to get the first shots in more of Minnesotans. Large differences remain in vaccination rates between regions and counties.

Minnesota COVID-19 Eligible Vaccination Rate Map

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