The Minnesota Department of Health is now providing weekly updates on the number of breakthrough cases of COVID-19 identified among residents statewide.
A breakthrough infection is when a person tests positive for for SARS-CoV-2 14 or more days after completing the COVID-19 vaccine series, be it the single-shot Johnson & Johnson or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. A breakthrough case also requires that a fully vaccinated individual has not had a previous positive test for COVID-19.
The data released this week is through July 11, at which point the more transmissible delta variant was in the process of becoming the dominant strain of the coronavirus in Minnesota.
Through July 11, the Department of Health had identified 5,599 breakthrough infections from 2,948,744 fully vaccinated people. That's a breakthrough rate of 0.19% or about one of every 526 people.
Of the 5,599 breakthrough cases, 514 people were sick enough to be hospitalized and 57 people died.
"COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases are identified by actively matching Minnesota case records with Minnesota vaccination records. MDH also takes and follows up on reports from health care providers, long term care, and corrections," the health department says.
The Minnesota Department of Health continues to track all breakthrough cases, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tracking only breakthrough cases that result in hospitalization or death.
Through Aug. 2, the CDC had counted 7,101 patients nationwide with COVID-19 breakthrough infection who were hospitalized and 1,507 patients who died, though the CDC suspects those are undercounts due to a number of reasons.
As the CDC notes, breakthrough infections are expected because vaccines, as effective as they are, are not 100% bulletproof against the coronavirus. It is believed, however, that vaccinated people are far less likely to become seriously ill.