ST. CLOUD — Of the 1,973 new confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases reported across the state Thursday, 65 were in Stearns County, 67 were in Sherburne County and 32 were in Benton County, according to a daily report from the Minnesota Department of Health.
According to Thursday’s report, 10 more Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, Stearns County has reported 21,264 cases of COVID-19 and 219 deaths, Sherburne County has reported 10,794 cases and 80 deaths, and Benton County has reported 5,398 cases and 97 deaths, according to the report.
Statewide, the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 reached 562,420 on Thursday and 7,054 people have died, according to the health department.
“We’re now at a pretty high rate of daily case growth” across the U.S., Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during a Tuesday morning press briefing.
While the spread of new COVID-19 cases isn’t exponential like it was in November, Malcolm said, cases are rising in all age groups across the state. She again reminded Minnesotans to continue to follow pandemic restrictions.
“We really do believe the end of the pandemic is within sight,” Malcolm said during the briefing, “but we’re not there yet, and frankly how quickly we get there is not a given.”
As of Thursday, there were 683 people hospitalized in the state for cases of COVID-19, and 196 of them are in intensive care, Malcolm said.
Since the start of the pandemic, 29,477 people have required hospitalization for COVID-19 in the state, and 6,006 have required intensive care, according to the report.
Cases, hospitalizations on the rise in younger population
Cases and hospitalizations have been especially rising in younger populations, including children, Malcolm said. As of this week, the average age of Minnesotans admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 was 59 years, down from 69 years in 2020.
Dr. Brooke Moore, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Minnesota, said during the call there have been more children admitted to hospitals in recent weeks — 11 in the past week.
There have been 297 pediatric deaths to COVID-19 in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, Moore said. So far, only two children in Minnesota have died of the disease.
Five children in the state have been admitted to intensive care for COVID-19 in the past week, Moore said. “Three of them are very sick.”
She urged Minnesotans over 16 to get vaccinated to help prevent spread to children, as none of the vaccines available have been cleared for use in children under 16.
Schools seeing increase in cases
The number of new COVID-19 cases that are school-related, including in staff as well as students, has exceeded the rate of school-related cases in the state back in November, Malcolm said.
In response, the state is increasing COVID-19 testing resources to schools beginning Monday, and encouraging schools to work to get students tested every two weeks, Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Heather Mueller said during the briefing.
As of Tuesday, over 2.3 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and over 1.6 million have completed all doses in their series, according to the health department.
Here’s how many people have been vaccinated in the tri-county area:
- Stearns County: 58,345 at least one dose, 42,859 completed series
- Benton County: 9,824 at least one dose, 7,280 completed series
- Sherburne County: 23,977 at least one dose, 17,246 completed series
Globally, there have been more than 144.1 million cases of COVID-19, including more than 31.8 million in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center. More than 3.0 million people have died of the infection worldwide, including about 569,696 people in the U.S.
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