ST. PAUL — There were so many new coronavirus infections reported to Minnesota health officials over the weekend that nearly a quarter remained unprocessed Tuesday morning, Nov. 9.
The state Department of Health had tallied 7,173 new infections in time for its 11 a.m. Tuesday update, and an estimated 2,500 more positive tests had yet to be processed. A department spokesman said they are working to increase staffing to address the rising numbers of positive tests that need to be entered into the state’s databases.
Health officials started releasing new outbreak data only on business days over the summer, and that change led to an influx of new cases on Tuesday mornings from the previous weekend. When results are released at 11 a.m. each business day, they typically are current through 4 a.m. the previous business day.
Before this week, the most new cases reported on a Tuesday during the latest surge was nearly 8,000 in late October.
The new cases reported Tuesday bring the state total to 826,404 infections since March 2020 with more than 8,800 who have been infected more than once. That total does not include the 2,500 backlogged cases that should be added to the count later this week.
About 96% of people infected since the pandemic began have recovered enough that they no longer need to be isolated.
The rates of positive tests and new cases remain well above the caution thresholds health officials use to determine whether the pandemic is under control.
Twenty more deaths also were recorded Tuesday, bringing the state toll to 8,882. Those whose deaths were reported ranged in age from a Ramsey County resident in their late 40s to three people in their 90s. Six were living in long-term care and 14 in private homes.
On average, Minnesota is reporting about 24 deaths from COVID-19 each day.
Hospitalizations jumped overnight to a yearly high of 1,122, including 249 in critical condition. The number of available intensive care beds is dwindling in much of the state.
Vaccines are considered the best way to avoid a severe infection and slow the spread of the coronavirus. Booster shots are recommended for seniors and anyone over 18 with underlying health conditions or other factors that put them at higher risk.
However, breakthrough infections have become increasingly common. There have been 64,844 breakthrough cases, or 16.2% of the more than 401,000 cases diagnosed this year.
There have been 2,956 fully vaccinated Minnesotans who’ve been hospitalized and 483 who have died of COVID-19. Nonetheless, of the 3.2 million fully vaccinated residents, 98% have not reported a breakthrough case.
Minnesota has administered 7.1 million doses of vaccine, including 576,000 booster shots. Nearly 3.5 million Minnesotans have gotten at least one shot — roughly 67% of the eligible population.