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98% of Minnesota adult ICU beds occupied as COVID hospitalizations rise

State reports 45 deaths, 1,621 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

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Nurses Paul Johnson and Jen Reed pull on gloves before caring for COVID-19 patients in one of St. Luke’s intensive care units in Duluth on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Statewide, nearly 98% of adult ICU beds and 95% of overflow, observation, and active surge/expansion beds for adults were occupied, according to the state Department of Health on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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ST. PAUL — West-central Minnesota and the Twin Cities had no available adult intensive care unit beds available early this week as a long fourth wave of COVID-19 infections continued to send hospitalizations soaring, according to state data released Tuesday, Dec. 7.

After reaching heights not seen in nearly a year this November, the number of ICU and other hospitalizations for COVID-19 reached 1,621 on Monday, the most recent available count.

Statewide, nearly 98% of adult ICU beds and 95% of overflow, observation, and active surge/expansion beds for adults were occupied, according to the state Department of Health. Fifty-six of 68 hospitals in the state, or 82%, reported no adult ICU bed availability.

Along with continued record-setting hospitalizations, the Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 45 deaths and 12,445 new cases of COVID-19, as well as a renewed climb in key measures of community transmission risk.

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  • Facing critical shortage, Minnesota to cover tuition for certified nursing assistants The Walz administration on Monday, Dec. 6, set a Jan. 31 target to train and deploy 1,000 new certified nursing assistants.
  • A third federal medical team will deploy to Minnesota to help combat COVID-19 Gov. Tim Walz said he requested the team on Tuesday and the 14-person group is set to touch down in Minnesota on Friday.

As of Nov. 29, the seven-day rolling average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests was 11.5%, a sharp climb after the rate started to drop the week of Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average for cases per 100,000 people was 68 — also a reversal of a downward trend the week of Thanksgiving.
Following are the MDH 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.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 12,445
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 68 (as of 11/29)

  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 945,445
  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 11,022
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 11.5% (as of 11/29)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,621

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 47,053

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 45

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 9,699

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,676,498 or 70.5% of ages 5 and up

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,411,323 or 65.5% of ages 5 and up

  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 1,267,488

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Alex Derosier covers Minnesota breaking news and state government for Forum News Service.
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