Minnesota on Monday reported another 2,971 breakthrough coronavirus infections in fully vaccinated people, representing roughly 25% of the 11,684 new infections reported in the past week.
While only a crude comparison — because breakthrough cases take longer to identify and don't match up exactly with weekly infection totals — the data indicate that unvaccinated Minnesotans are suffering the most from the latest COVID-19 wave in the state. While the breakthrough infection total has reached 18,790, that makes up 0.61% of the state's fully vaccinated population. The state also has identified a total of 1,095 breakthrough infections in people who were hospitalized and 108 in people who died of COVID-19.
State health officials said the data support the call to vaccinate remaining eligible Minnesotans who have not yet received their shots against COVID-19. More than 3.3 million Minnesotans have received at least first doses, including 71.3% of the state's eligible population of people 12 and older, and 60.3% of the total population, according to the latest state figures on Monday. The totals omit shots provided at federal facilities such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, so the state's vaccination rate is higher.
Gov. Tim Walz on Monday commended the recent growth in vaccinations among teenagers — with the first-dose rate rising in the state's 12 to 15 age group from 42% on July 28 to 54.6% — but urged others to seek shots as well.
"Minnesota has come together and done good work protecting our state so far, but there's more to do," Walz said in a statement. "For the sake of our students: we need all eligible Minnesotans vaccinated."
The toll of the pandemic in Minnesota has now reached 669,176 diagnosed infections and 7,903 COVID-19 deaths, including 2,693 infections and 11 deaths newly reported on Monday. Three of the newly reported deaths involved people 50 to 64 while the remainder involved senior citizens who have made up 87% of Minnesota's COVID-19 fatalities.
The state's reported positivity rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing nudged up from 6.6% to 6.7%, but has remained relatively flat for two weeks — raising hopes of a peak in the latest COVID-19 wave that is being fueled by a fast-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.
Health officials remain concerned that the restart of K-12 classes and large events such as the Minnesota State Fair could spur an increase in infection growth.
The state so far has reported 69 COVID-19 cases in people who attended the State Fair when they were most likely exposed to the virus and infectious to others. The state also has identified 33 coronavirus infections among participants at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota last month.
While the State Fair number represents a fraction of the more than 1 million attendees, health officials suspect there are other infections linked to the event that haven't been identified. Event outbreaks have taken two or more weeks to identify because of the time it takes to develop symptoms after infection and then seek testing.