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Minnesota health officials will now provide a public tally of COVID reinfections.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) revealed the first such figure Monday morning, saying the agency has recorded 8,184 instances of reinfection since the pandemic began. The number will be updated regularly, and is now its own entry on the state's COVID situation update page.

MDH said it has been collecting this information throughout the pandemic, but until recently there was no standard definition of "reinfection." That changed, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists providing clarity, MDH said.

Related: State reveals which Minnesota schools have had the most COVID-19 cases

A reinfection is now defined as when a person tests positive for COVID-19 more than 90 days after previously testing positive. 

MDH called this "standardized definition" a "key step paving the way for MDH to now report reinfections" regularly in the data updates.

Until now, a person who tested positive for COVID multiple times had been counted just once by MDH on the situation update page. 

Reinfections, unsurprisingly, were rare throughout the first months of the pandemic. But from Aug. 1-Oct. 14 this year, the state has averaged about 35 reinfections every single day, according to MDH's data released Monday.

Related: Mayo Clinic's tips for staying safe while celebrating this Thanksgiving

MDH also stressed the continued importance — and effectiveness — of vaccinations, which not only reduce the chance of hospitalization and death from COVID but also reduces the chances of being infected in the first place more effectively than the "natural immunity" that comes with overcoming a COVID infection.

The agency cited a CDC study published last week, looking at hospitalized adults from across the country, which found that unvaccinated people who had previously been infected with COVID (meaning they had "natural immunity") were 5 times more likely to test positive for COVID than patients who were fully vaccinated and had never been infected.

The state Monday said 59.4% of Minnesota's total population, including children under the age of 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, has completed the vaccine series. The latest test positivity rate was 7.04%.

There have also been 57,023 "breakthrough" COVID infections in vaccinated Minnesotans, which comprises 1.77% of the total number of COVID cases recorded in the state. Of those, 2,609 were hospitalized (0.081% of vaccinated people) and 372 died (0.012%).

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