April 18 update on COVID-19 in MN: Nearly 52 percent of adults have 1 vaccine dose

A nurse fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Essentia nurse Marie Engebretson fills a syringe with the Moderna vaccine on Feb. 26 in the basement of Asbury United Methodist Church in Duluth, during a vaccine clinic targeted at the city's BIPOC community.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News file

3 things to know

  • About 51.6 percent of 16-and-older Minnesotans have received at least one vaccine dose, 36.3 percent are fully vaccinated

  • Hospital admission, ICU trends hovering at winter levels; health officials say virus variants likely are driving increase in new cases

  • About 85 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose

Updated: April 18, 11:45 a.m.

The percentage of Minnesotans 16 and older with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine ticked up to nearly 52 percent on Sunday, after crossing the 50-percent threshold the day before.

Sunday’s Health Department update showed 51.6 percent of state residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, with more than 36 percent completely vaccinated.

The state also reported 15 more Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 — pushing the overall pandemic death toll to 7,020. The state crossed the grim milestone of 7,000 COVID-19 deaths as of Saturday.

Overall, it’s a continued mix of hopeful and concerning news as the state works its way through another COVID-19 wave.

Newly reported COVID-19 vaccine doses in Minnesota

Here are Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 statistics:

  • 7,020 deaths (15 new); 556,381 positive cases; 95 percent off isolation

  • 51.6 percent of adults with at least one dose; 36.3 percent completely vaccinated

  • About 85 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose

Vaccinations solid

Sunday’s Health Department data showed more than 1.6 million Minnesotans fully inoculated while nearly 2.3 million have received at least one dose, including about 85 percent of residents age 65 and older. The agency reported more than 70,000 additional vaccinations — above the seven-day average but a week-over-week decrease from last Sunday’s numbers.

A short-term dip in the vaccination pace was expected, due to the pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution.

Graph projecting when most Minnesotans will get vaccinated
Projections by MPR News data reporter David Montgomery

The pause was prompted by a joint Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration recommendation that providers pause their distribution of the J&J vaccine while the agencies investigate the exceedingly rare occurrence of blood clots.

The clots have been found in six women — out of nearly 7 million vaccines given nationwide — between the ages of 18 and 48. Officials say they are not aware of any cases of blood clots occurring among the more than 184,000 state residents who have received the single dose vaccine.

At the current rate of vaccinations, 80 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older will have one dose by the end of the May.

Before last week’s J&J pause and an earlier factory mishap, officials had been hopeful that a flood of new J&J vaccines would combine with existing Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to drive Minnesota’s vaccination rate to a new level.

Hospital, ICU needs hover at winter levels

As of Thursday there were 671 people in Minnesota hospitals with COVID-19; 165 needed intensive care, staying near the highest number of ICU patients since early January.

Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past weeks and are hovering around levels not seen since early January. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.

The age of those newly hospitalized is trending younger than earlier in the pandemic. The majority of people in the hospital now for COVID-19 are younger than 60.

While the numbers are still low compared to late November and early December, the rising trend has been notable given the worries over the rise of the highly contagious U.K. variant, which state health officials suspect is driving the current upswing.

The number of known, active cases has been trending upward over the past weeks, with more than 20,000 as of Friday’s report — the first time since December that active cases have crossed that threshold.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

Fifteen deaths reported on Sunday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 7,020. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

The state has recorded 556,381 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,847 posted Sunday. About 95 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

There are signs that the current wave may be ebbing. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 has been basically flat over the past week, at around 6 percent after growing steadily in prior weeks

The rate of growth for new cases also appears to be slowing significantly.

Thanks to vaccinations, officials don’t believe Minnesota will experience the kind of steep surge in cases seen in November and December but that doesn’t mean the worst of the current wave is over.

"We are still in precarious territory,” state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Thursday.

Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. The latest numbers, however, show cases creeping up across the state.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

Youth cases grow; state urges weekly testing

Young people — some of whom are too young to be vaccinated — are driving case growth statewide.

The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has grown, with more than 44,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.

New Minnesota COVID-19 cases by age, adjusted for population

In one recent situation, the state Health Department sent out an advisory earlier this week asking anyone who attended the Northland Youth Wrestling Association tournament in Sioux Falls, S.D., to get tested for COVID-19. The tournament brought together 64 Minnesota teams from 52 counties — and now at least 29 cases in 13 schools around the state have been detected.

The state is also asking any student involved in youth sports or extracurricular activities of any kind to get tested for COVID-19 every week.

With kids increasingly returning to school buildings and sports, Minnesota public health officials are urging Minnesota families with children, in general, to be tested every two weeks for COVID-19 until the end of the school year.

Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they will spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations. Those with the coronavirus can spread it when they don’t have symptoms.

Caseloads, vaccinations among people of color

In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

Even as new case counts continue to track well below their late November, early December peaks, the data shows Latino people continue to be hit hard.

The vaccination pace for people of color also remains frustratingly slow compared to white Minnesotans.

Chart of vaccinations by race

COVID-19 in Minnesota

Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health's cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.

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