Minneapolis

Virus positivity, hospitalization reach new lows in Minnesota

2021-06-08 13:47:00 –

Two key COVID-19 metrics reached historic lows in Minnesota — with the positivity rate of diagnostic testing declining to 2.3% and the number of hospitalizations related to the infectious disease dropping to 201.

The declining positivity rate indicates low levels of viral transmission in Minnesota, where 63.1% of eligible people 12 and older have received COVID-19 vaccine. The Minnesota Department of Health still reported on Tuesday another 125 diagnosed infections with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and two deaths — raising the state’s pandemic totals to 603,005 infections and 7,469 deaths.

Gov. Tim Walz is scheduled Tuesday to appear at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport to promote a new single-dose vaccination pop-up site for travelers — part of the state’s campaign to provide vaccine to 70% of people 16 and older in the state by July 1.

The state is on pace to fall just short of that goal — having provided vaccine to 65.3% of people in that age group so far — but health officials said they intend to encourage vaccination beyond that date anyway and to push the rate even higher than 70%.

The nearly 3 million Minnesotans who have received COVID-19 vaccine include more than 2.6 million people who have completed the one- or two-dose series. People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after they receive their final dose — giving their immune system time to respond to the vaccine and become protective against the coronavirus.

Minnesota has reached a first-dose vaccination rate of 89.9% in senior citizens, a vulnerable population that has suffered 88% of the state’s total COVID-19 deaths.

Health officials believe vaccination progress in vulnerable populations, including long-term care facility residents, has reduced the amount of severe COVID-19 illnesses. The 201 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday were down from 699 on April 14 at the peak of this spring’s pandemic wave and from a single-day record of 1,864 on Nov. 29.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective — reducing the risk of infection by 91% for fully vaccinated people.

The study is based on real-world vaccination experiences for health care providers and first responders in Duluth and seven other regions in the U.S. It was initiated before approval of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and doesn’t evaluate its effectiveness.

The CDC report released Monday also showed milder illnesses and fewer hospitalizations among the few vaccinated people who did suffer breakthrough coronavirus infections.

Minnesota has been among the most aggressive states in searching for breakthrough infections — identifying 2,868 as of Monday out of 2.6 million fully vaccinated individuals, for a rate of .1%. Minnesota’s known breakthrough infections include 290 people who were hospitalized and 38 people who died of COVID-19.

While the CDC study wasn’t conclusive, it also suggested based on the low viral levels in breakthrough cases that vaccinated people are less likely to spread the coronavirus to others.

“While we cannot make the claim about reduced transmissibility from this data, lower viral loads and shorter shedding time do reduce the spread of other viruses, and it does inspire some projection about the likelihood for reduced transmissibility as well,” said Dr. Harmony Tyner, an infectious disease specialist at St. Luke’s in Duluth who is involved with the research.

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744

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Virus positivity, hospitalization reach new lows in Minnesota Source link Virus positivity, hospitalization reach new lows in Minnesota

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