Health officials: Minnesota amid coronavirus ‘blizzard’

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, November 16, 2021

ST. PAUL — Minnesota health officials say the state is currently in the middle of a coronavirus “blizzard” with its rate of new infections worst in the nation over the pasts seven days.

More than 95% of available inpatient hospital beds are filled across the state which has caused backups in some emergency departments, according health care providers.

COVID-19 booster and pediatric vaccinations should help stabilize the rate of new infections, but health officials say they won’t have an immediate impact because it takes a while to develop immunity.

State health leaders encouraged Minnesotans to protect themselves with mask-wearing and social distancing measures.

“If we could get people to consider implementing the layered mitigation, if we could get more people vaccinated and if people continue to seek out boosters, that will make a difference,” state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said.

The state on Monday reported another 5,266 coronavirus infections and a 9.7% positivity rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing that brings Minnesota close to its 10% high-risk threshold for widespread transmission for the first time since last December, the Star Tribune reported.

Breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated Minnesotans are a factor in the latest wave of new cases because those who were inoculated last winter need booster shots.

Hospitalizations remain more common among the unvaccinated, who are more likely to need intensive care and ventilators for treatment. Unvaccinated people made up 70% of the 709 people with COVID-19 who were newly admitted to hospitals in the last six days.