Patients with COVID-19 occupy more hospital beds in Minnesota than they did during the most recent pandemic surge this spring, according to state figures released Tuesday.

A total of 748 hospital beds across Minnesota are being used by COVID-19 patients, most of whom are unvaccinated. That number is an increase of 70 beds compared with Monday's data release from the state Health Department. The spring peak came on April 14 when 699 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19.

Doctors say most of those recently hospitalized in Minnesota with COVID-19 have not been immunized. A Tuesday report from researchers at the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that up to 98.6% of COVID-19 hospital admissions nationwide between June and August were among unvaccinated people.

Tuesday's state data release marked the first time since early January that Minnesota hospitals have been treating more than 700 patients with COVID-19 on any one day. The one-day count of 208 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds was the highest tally of intensive care patients this calendar year.

During the winter months, Minnesota was coming off its biggest surge thus far of COVID-19 patients in November and December. The current run-up in cases and hospitalizations, which is being driven by the highly infectious delta variant, remains far shy of last year's biggest one-day pandemic numbers.

Since Minnesota started reporting COVID-19 cases in March 2020, hospitalizations peaked on Nov. 29 when 1,864 patients were using hospital beds. On Dec. 1, pandemic patients occupied 399 intensive care unit beds — the peak for utilization by that measure.

The Health Department on Tuesday also announced 4,603 new COVID-19 cases and 12 more deaths linked to the pandemic — numbers that reflect reporting for three days over the weekend. Since the start of the pandemic, Minnesota has reported 673,774 cases and 7,915 deaths.

The state's positivity rate for COVID-19 diagnostic tests increased from 6.7% to 7.1% — a discouraging sign since the rate had been holding relatively flat for about two weeks at roughly 6.5%.

Nearly 3.36 million Minnesotans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, including 72.6% of the state's 16 and older population.

Christopher Snowbeck • 612-673-4744

Twitter: @chrissnowbeck