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Minnesota is now experiencing its most dramatic increase in COVID-19 deaths in the five months since the COVID-19 delta variant became the dominant strain in the state.

In the latest updates provided by the Minnesota Department of Health, there has been a notable rise in the daily death count so far in November. The state reported 43 deaths each of the past two days, in addition to reporting 20 on Tuesday and 34 on Monday. 

Last week, the state reported daily death counts of 35, 32, 43, 24 and 25. That's a total of 299 deaths reported in the first 11 days of November, putting the month on track to be the deadliest month of COVID in Minnesota since January – before COVID vaccines were widely available.

On Wednesday, health department leaders Jan Malcolm and Kris Ehresmann spoke about a "truly alarming" surge of disease transmission throughout Minnesota, calling it a "COVID blizzard." 

The number of newly confirmed cases was so great over the weekend that MDH staff couldn't keep up, leading to a backlog in the data the department was able to release to the public. The end result has been a total of 21,826 new cases since last Friday, an average of more than 3,600 new cases per day. 

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director at the Centers for Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on his latest podcast (released Nov. 11) that Minnesota is among the worst hot spots in the country. 

"There are eight states here in this Upper Midwest group that are beginning to see major surge activity. Minnesota, unfortunately, is leading the way with 54 cases per 100,000 population, almost twice the national average. A 35% increase in the last two weeks," Osterholm said. 

More cases leads to more hospitalizations, which ultimately leads to more deaths. 

Look how deaths have charged upward since the delta variant became dominant in July: 

  • July - 55 deaths
  • August - 156 deaths
  • September - 350 deaths
  • October - 564 deaths
  • November - TBD

Not all of the 299 deaths reported by the state so far in November actually happened in November, though the majority of them did. It will take a week or more before the extent of the death toll in November becomes apparent, but it is nonetheless on pace to exceed the number of deaths in October.

What's unknown is how bad the situation will get. 

It would seem unlikely Minnesota replicates the spike in deaths seen last November and December, when more than a third (3,303 of 8,968) of all COVID deaths in Minnesota occurred. The first vaccine dose administered in Minnesota was Dec. 15, 2020, so the majority of the victims last winter were unprotected. 

  • October 2020 - 510 deaths
  • November 2020 - 1,503 deaths
  • December 2020 - 1,800 deaths
  • January 2021 - 775 deaths

But we're now dealing with a more contagious variant, and the deaths in September and October 2021 exceeded the deaths in the same period last year.

October 2021 actually ranks as the fifth-deadliest month of COVID in Minnesota. 

  1. December 2020 - 1,800 deaths
  2. November 2020 - 1,503 deaths
  3. January 2021 - 775 deaths
  4. May 2020 - 708 deaths
  5. October 2021 - 564 deaths
  6. October 2020 - 510 deaths
  7. April 2020 - 386 deaths
  8. June 2020 - 367 deaths
  9. September 2021 - 350 deaths
  10. February 2021 - 270 deaths
  11. April 2021 - 266 deaths
  12. September 2020 - 238 deaths
  13. August 2020 - 225 deaths
  14. May 2021 - 208 deaths
  15. March 2021 - 178 deaths
  16. August 2021 - 156 deaths
  17. July 2020 - 153 deaths
  18. June 2021 - 109 deaths
  19. July 2021 - 55 deaths
  20. March 2020 - 19 deaths

Note: November 2021 is not included on the list because an official count is not yet available, though Bring Me The News has reached out to the health department for that data. 

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