Thursday's COVID update from the Minnesota Department of Health includes 43 new deaths and more than 1,500 new cases.
The newly reported deaths bring the state's total to 5,817 over the course of the pandemic, of which 64% (3,716) were residents of long-term care, including 23 of the 43 reported Thursday.
Minnesota on Saturday evening confirmed the first five cases of the U.K.-based mutant variant of COVID-19, with residents in four Twin Cities counties testing positive for the B.1.1.7. variant after falling ill between Dec. 16-31.
No further cases of the new strain have been confirmed but health officials believe the variant is broadly circulating in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, the state reported Thursday that 153,332 people have received at least 1 dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, while 15,082 people have completed both doses of vaccine that are required for the vaccines' full effect. The health department has launched a public dashboard to track vaccine distribution throughout Minnesota, and you can view it here.
Through Jan. 13, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 645, which is the lowest number of COVID admissions reported since Oct. 26 (614).
Of those hospitalized, 131 (up from 129 the day before) were in intensive care, and 514 (down from 536) were receiving non-ICU treatment.
Statewide, there were 140 staffed ICU beds available. During the November surge the state had fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available. The number of available beds is dependent on the number of available staff, so the totals are constantly changing.
Testing and positivity rates
The 1,598 positive results in Thursday's update were from a total of 36,678 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 4.35%.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's test positivity rate over the past seven days is 5.94%, which is trending back after falling below 5% just over a week ago.
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: 6,043,802 (up from 6,006,711)
- People tested: 3,112,884 (up from 3,104,508)
- Positive cases: 441,935 (up from 440,354)
- Deaths: 5,817 – 211 of which are "probable*" (up from 5,774)
- Patients no longer requiring isolation: 420,919 (up from 419,139)
* 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