ST. PAUL — Minnesota officials have announced plans to expand access to COVID-19 treatment as a November surge in hospitalizations in the state wears on.

More than 1,400 people were in the hospital for COVID-19 on Tuesday, Nov. 23, according to state health department numbers, a high reached earlier this month and not seen since December 2020. In response, M Health Fairview and the Minnesota Department of Health are expanding access to monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19 in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities, Gov. Tim Walz's office announced Tuesday.

The expansion will mean a 50% capacity increase for the treatment in the Twin Cities area, the governor's office said. The Minnesota Department of Health has also asked for additional federal staffing assistance at central Minnesota hospitals, where many counties are experiencing some of the worst case rates in the state.

Monoclonal antibodies are generally used to treat and prevent COVID-19 in high-risk patients. More information on signing up for treatment can be found online through the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform: www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/meds.html.

The number of hospitals with zero available adult intensive care unit beds remained high Tuesday at 78%, while 50% of the state's pediatric ICU beds were full. In response to strain on the state's health care system, the federal government has provided two medical teams to help staff Minnesota hospitals.

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Walz on Monday activated the National Guard to assist staff at long-term care facilities. The state has also opened three transitional care facilities intended to remove pressure from hospitals by providing space for recovering patients.

Nearly 100,000, or about 20% of children ages 5-11 in Minnesota have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, according to the governor's office. The federal government approved boosters for that group on Nov. 2 Meanwhile, Minnesota is second nationally for booster and third doses, with 881,369 administered so far.

Some Twin Cities Metro area schools have switched to distance learning once again amid soaring infection rates. The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District on Tuesday announced its plans to return to full-time distance learning Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Friday, Dec. 3, citing high case counts and levels of transmission among children 5-19 years old. Shakopee Public Schools made a similar move last week, opting to cancel classes for the entire week of Thanksgiving.

Following are the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Tuesday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next. Cases and deaths in Tuesday's numbers include those reported from 4 a.m. Friday through 4 a.m. Monday.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 11,455 (includes weekend cases)
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 74 (as of 11/15)

  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 887,368
  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 9,926
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 11% (as of 11/15)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,429

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 44,577

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 37

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 9,229

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,616,166 or 69.4% of ages 5 and up

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,343,252 or 64.1% of ages 5 and up

  • THIRD AND BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 881,369

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