Minnesota sees declining COVID-19 intensive care rate

Published 4:48 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota health officials looking for a silver lining in the spread of the coronavirus omicron variant say they hope it can be found in declining intensive-care hospitalizations for COVID-19. That figure fell from 374 in mid-December to 255 on Friday.

The decline temporarily eases pressure on hospitals as they brace for the wave of omicron infections. Despite its rapid spread, health officials are hoping the variant will continue to produce a lower rate of severe COVID-19 cases.

Minnesota’s decline in ICU patients is an optimistic sign even though total coronavirus hospitalizations have increased from 1,314 on Jan. 1 to 1,435 on Friday. Only 18% of Friday’s COVID-19 hospitalizations involved patients in intensive care, the lowest rate since last March, the Star Tribune  reported.

The state reported another 10,810 coronavirus infections and 44 deaths on Monday. It also reported the positivity rate of diagnostic testing had reached a pandemic record of 16.6% in the seven-day period ending Dec. 31. Health officials said that was an indication of substantial viral spread across Minnesota.

Age-adjusted rates of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths remain more than 10 times higher among unvaccinated Minnesotans, according to the latest state breakthrough infection data.

The data also suggests that booster shots are paying off in people who experienced reduced immunity after their initial shots.