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New daily COVID case numbers remain high as Minnesota's positive test rate drops

The state has passed a peak of new infections driven by the omicron variant, but a backlog of positive tests is keeping daily numbers high.

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ST. PAUL — Minnesota's positive COVID-19 test rate continued to drop in the state health department's report for Friday, Jan. 28, though the daily number of reported cases remains high as the state continues to process a backlog from this month's wave of infections.

Officials earlier this week said there were roughly 19,000 positive cases that had not yet been fully reviewed, meaning daily reports of positive cases would remain higher than expected until all had been processed. As of Friday, 7,000 remained. The Minnesota Department of Health said this month's wave of infections produced the highest volume of laboratory reports since the beginning of the pandemic.

Friday's report showed a positive test rate of 22.5%, down from a pandemic high earlier this month of 23.7%. While the positive test rate remains at a level never seen before the current wave of infections, it has now dropped for three days straight after plateauing earlier this month.

The Mayo Clinic on a Wednesday, Jan. 26, media call said the wave was on its way out after peaking at 300 cases per 100,000 residents in Minnesota. At the peak, it's estimated that 5% of the state's population of about 5.7 million people was infected at the same time.

While there are encouraging signs that the worst of omicron is over, hospitalizations remain high. Thursday's report showed more than 1,500 in the hospital for COVID-19, and the number has remained at that level for much of the month. There were 213 people in an intensive care unit for COVID-19 as of Thursday, though in December that number was in the high 300s.

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Following are the MDH COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Friday. Because all data are preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 14,565
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 206.3 (as of 1/17)
  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 1,309,665
  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 46,472
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 22.5% (as of 1/17)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,502
  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 56,621
  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 43
  • TOTAL DEATHS: 11,382

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,834,471 or 73.6% of ages 5 and up
  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,590,276 or 68.9% of ages 5 and up
  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 2,018,854
Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
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