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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Omicron keeps changing, as Minnesota’s COVID-19 outbreak escalates

Minnesota is seeing new COVID-19 infections climbing and more severe cases rising, driven by the latest and more contagious versions of the Omron version.

On Friday, 2,919 new cases were reported and the daily average of new cases has increased by almost 32 per cent over the previous week. The state averages 32 new infections per week and eight hospitalizations per 100,000 residents.

The rate of new cases is a low one and provides limited information about the current size of the state’s outbreak because so many people are now using at-home testing. Those tests are not as accurate as genetic testing and home tests performed by medical professionals are not reported to the state health department.

In place of test positivity rates, health officials now focus on the presence of coronavirus genetic material in wastewater, as well as the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 and death.

All are rising, but nowhere near as high as during the state’s worst surge this winter. Health officials expect cases to peak soon as more activities take place outside, but they are also expecting a drop as the weather cools.

The latest spike in cases is driven by the latest strains from the Omicron variant that pushed cases to record levels in January. Two versions, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 now dominate Twin City Sewage and BA.2.12.1 is expected to overtake its predecessor in the coming weeks.

Other omicron types, BA.4 and BA.5, have also been found in the wastewater of the Twin Cities.

The hospitalizations continued this week with 391 COVID-19 patients admitted, including 35 in intensive care. This is more than double the low seen in April, but again, a fraction of the previous peak when hospitalizations were above 1,600.

Still, many hospitals are full and beds are in short supply in the Twin Cities Metro and other parts of the state. Hospital capacity has decreased since last fall due to staff shortages, coronavirus patients and those in need of post-treatment delays during the pandemic.

Over a dozen COVID-19 deaths were reported on Friday, the highest in a single day in more than a month. However, deaths are not reported in a uniform manner as each COVID-19 death is screened, so daily totals do not necessarily represent a trend.

Minnesota has lost 12,559 people to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Those who died on Friday were in their 50s to 90s.

Of the reported deaths, nine were people who lived in private homes and three were in long-term care. About 46 percent of those who died lived in nursing homes or assisted living.

Another 290 people are suspected to have died due to COVID-19, but that person never had a positive coronavirus test.

Health officials say vaccines are the best protection against severe COVID-19. But protection from the shots drops significantly after five months and boosters are urged for everyone 12 years of age and older.

According to the state health department, about 67 percent of Minnesota’s 5.7 million residents have received their initial series of vaccines, but only 46 percent are up-to-date on their coronavirus vaccines.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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