COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined in one week from 1,008 to 907 in Minnesota, which is showing more signs of a peak in its latest pandemic wave.
The positivity rate of diagnostic testing has declined as well in Minnesota from 8.3% to 7.8% but has been above the 5% caution threshold for nearly three months because of a fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.
Minnesota's rate of coronavirus infections in the past seven days ranks 11th highest in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the state could be following the pattern of others in the South that had severe pandemic waves this summer that are in steady decline.
Mayo Clinic's 14-day modeling forecast for the first time in months predicts no increase in the state's infection rate over the next two weeks.
The state nonetheless reported on Monday another 22 COVID-19 deaths and 3,010 coronavirus infections, raising Minnesota's pandemic totals to 8,559 deaths and 773,227 confirmed infections.
While 86% of total COVID-19 deaths have occurred in seniors, Monday's update included the deaths of three people in their 40s and a Ramsey County resident in the 35 to 39 age range.
Health officials urged unvaccinated people to seek shots against COVID-19 and vaccinated people to follow new guidance for booster doses to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
"COVID is really not a disease that you want," said Dr. Ruth Lynfield, state epidemiologist, noting the threat of lingering complications from infection as well. "If you can prevent it easily with the vaccine, that is a great thing to do."
More than 3.6 million people in Minnesota have received at least first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is 76.2% of its eligible 12-and-older population, according to CDC data, which includes shots administered at some federal facilities that aren't counted by the state.
New state breakthrough data on Monday showed a total of 51,586 infections in nearly 3.2 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans — or 1.4% of that population. The update includes 5,759 breakthrough infections identified in the last week, or approximately 36% of the total infections newly reported in that seven-day time frame.
The state also has identified 331 COVID-19 breakthrough deaths in fully vaccinated Minnesotans, or 0.008% of that population. COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths remain much more common in the unvaccinated population in Minnesota, according to state charts documenting the trends in severe pandemic activity by vaccination status.
Boosters of the two-dose Pfizer and COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for certain people — mostly seniors and younger adults with underlying health problems or jobs that put them at elevated risk for infection. Boosters also are recommended for all recipients of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which makes up 4.3% of the doses administered in Minnesota.