Skip to main content

Not for the first time, Minnesota health officials are urging all unvaccinated residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus, which is once again raging statewide. 

"Right now we find ourselves in a really truly alarming spike in cases in recent days," said Minnesota health commissioner Jan Malcolm, referring to the situation as a "COVID blizzard." 

Based on the date samples were collected, the state averaged 4,000 cases every day Nov. 1-5, with incomplete data yet to be revealed for the days since. 

  • Nov. 1 - 4,311 cases
  • Nov. 2 - 3,191
  • Nov. 3 - 3,989
  • Nov. 4 - 4,037
  • Nov. 5 - 3,742

What's more, the large numbers reported in the state's daily updates indicate that nothing is slowing down. On Monday, the state reported 4,253 new cases, which represented data from Nov. 6.

On Tuesday the state reported 7,173 cases (mainly from Saturday and Sunday) and there were 5,277 cases reported Wednesday, though data in the past two reports includes potentially thousands of backlogged cases that the health department simply didn't have the manpower to get to over the weekend. 

"This spike is bad. It's scary, but it would be so much worse, especially with many many more hospitalizations and deaths, if it weren't for the fact that most Minnesotans now do have the protection of the vaccine," said Malcolm. 

"But many people, close to 40% of our state, are still not protected. We need all Minnesotans to recognize the fact that in a pandemic storm like this one caused by the delta variant, individual decisions have implications. Implications not only for the person but for their families, their communities and in fact the entire state." 

While it is the case that around 40% of Minnesotans aren't fully vaccinated (a figure that includes children who are ineligible for the vaccine or were ineligible until recently), at least some of the remainder may have immunity from a past COVID-19 infection. However, a CDC study recently found that getting vaccinated is more effective at preventing a COVID infection than relying on immunity from a past bout, and is also far more effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

But MDH says that waning immunity from the COVID vaccine may be playing a partial role in the current surge in cases, which comes at a time when those eligible for COVID-19 booster shots are being encouraged to get them.

"There is growing consensus among state health officials and clinical leaders and research leaders that waning immunity does have something to do with this most recent wave," said Malcolm.  

She believes many of the breakthrough cases in Minnesota are among people who were vaccinated earliest. The first vaccine recipients in Minnesota got their shot Dec. 15, 2020, with the vaccination process expanding and rolling out in the months that have followed. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious diseases at the Minnesota Department of Health, says waning immunity, relaxation of mitigation measures, and cold weather leading to more time indoors are among the possible explanations for the alarming case levels. But all in all, the delta variant is simply "feeding itself." 

"You start building and you've got a lot of transmission and it just keeps building. All in all, when you look at the data over the last number of weeks, it has just been in general a steady uptick in cases. I think that's because the more cases there are, the more virus is circulating. It's unfortunate ... it feeds itself," said Ehresmann.

The large number of cases has led to hospitalization levels not seen since mid-December, 2020. As of Nov. 9, there were 1,159 patients COVID-19 being treated at Minnesota hospitals, including 257 in intensive care. 

Because of limited capacity around the state (there were only 42 staffed ICU beds available in the entire state through Tuesday), patients are being diverted through regional hospital coordination efforts. 

Allina Health told Bring Me The News that it is "optimizing care across our health system and collaborating with other healthcare systems to ensure that patients that need us are getting the care they need." 

"We are in the midst of a prolonged pandemic, and we recognize and understand this has been extremely stressful for our staff and for the communities we serve," the Allina Health spokesperson said. 

Next Up

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.


7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.


2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.


Flickr - COVID testing site sign

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 9

Hospitalizations have reached a new high point in 2021.

coronavirus, covid-19

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, October 22

COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped four days in a row, but capacity remains tight.

St. Cloud Hospital

Hospitals strained as COVID surges in Minnesota

CentraCare and HealthPartners have both issued statements in recent days asking for the public's help as bed availability at hospitals lessens.

covid, vaccine, booster shots

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, March 2

Case levels in a single day of reporting haven't been this low since early August.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 14

More than 11,000 cases for a second day in a row.


3rd teenage death from COVID-19 reported in Minnesota

All three of the teenage deaths have occurred in the past three months.