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Jan. 8 COVID update: Cases inching up, ICU admissions lowest since mid-October

There are 130 COVID-19 patients currently in intensive care in Minnesota.

Friday's COVID update from the Minnesota Department of Health includes 48 deaths and more than 2,300 new cases, though the number of COVID patients in intensive care in Minnesota is the lowest its been since mid-October. 

Sadly, 48 more deaths bring the state's total to 5,610 over the course of the pandemic, of which 64.1% (3,605) were residents of long-term care, including 29 of the 48 reported Friday. 

The update notes that one person who died was aged 30-34 from Scott County. It marks the 20th COVID-19 death of an individual under the age of 35 in Minnesota. 

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 and Gov. Tim Walz said Wednesday that it is "probably" already in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the state reported Friday that 104,226 people have been vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The state has received and distributed 396,350 doses of vaccine, meaning there remains more than 292,000 doses yet to be administered.

Hospitalizations

Through Jan. 7, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 759, which is down from 787 reported on Wednesday. It's the lowest number of COVID admissions since Nov. 1. 

Of those hospitalized, 130 (down from 135) were in intensive care, and 629 (down from 652) were receiving non-ICU treatment. It's the fewest COVID-19 patients in intensive care in Minnesota since Oct. 15. 

Statewide, there are 150 staffed ICU beds available. During the November surge the state had fewer than 100 staffed ICU beds available.

Testing and positivity rates

The 2,387 positive results in Friday's update were from a total of 49,029 completed tests, creating a daily test positivity rate of 4.8%.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's test positivity rate over the past seven days is 7.05%, which is trending back up this week. 

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: 5,852,830 (up from 5,803,829)
  • People tested: 3,054,379 (up from 3,041,891)
  • Positive cases: 431,944 (up from 429,570)
  • Deaths: 5,620 – 195 of which are "probable*" (up from 5,572)
  • Active cases: 16,597 (up from 15,488)
  • Patients no longer requiring isolation: 409,727 (up from 408,510)
  • Total people vaccinated: 104,226 (up from 91,174)

* 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.

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