Tuesday's COVID update from the Minnesota Department of Health includes 18 deaths and just over 1,600 new cases. Among the 18 newly reported deaths were three people in their 50s and one person aged 35-39, which marks the 41st COVID-related death of someone under the age of 40 in Minnesota.
There have now been 5,461 deaths from the virus during the pandemic, of which (64.3%) (3,513) came from long-term care, including 7 of the 18 reported Tuesday.
Minnesota has yet to confirm either of the mutant variants of the coronavirus that are circulating in Europe and South Africa. The variant found in Europe has however been confirmed in multiple U.S. states in recent days.
Meanwhile, vaccination is happening in Minnesota. The state reported Tuesday that 80,857 people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines through Jan. 2.
Through Jan. 4, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 842, which is up from 810 reported on Monday.
Of those hospitalized, 155 (down from 156) were in intensive care, and 687 (up from 656) were receiving non-ICU treatment.
Statewide, there are 162 staffed ICU beds available. During the November surge the state had fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available.
Testing and positivity rates
The 1,612 positive results in Tuesday's update were from a total of 15,666 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 10.3%.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's test positivity rate over the past seven days is 6.68%, though the increase from 5.56% the previous report is partially due to a backlog of positive results being released on Monday.
The World Health Organization recommends that a percent positive rate (total positives divided by total completed tests) of below 5% for at least two weeks is necessary to safely reopen the economy. That 5% threshold is based on total positives divided by total tests.
Coronavirus in Minnesota by the numbers
- Total tests: 5,738,713 (up from 5,723,166)
- People tested: 3,024,296 (up from 3,020,132)
- Positive cases: 425,261 (up from 423,688)
- Deaths: 5,461 – 186 of which are "probable*" (up from 5,443)
- Active cases: 13,133 (up from 12,689)
- Patients no longer requiring isolation: 406,667 (up from 405,556)
- Total people vaccinated: 80,857 (up from 78,402)
* Probable deaths are patients who died after testing positive using the COVID-19 antigen test, which is thought to be less accurate than the more common PCR test.