ST. PAUL — Minnesota has experienced four straight days of declining test-positivity rates and hospitalizations suggesting the state’s fourth surge of coronavirus infections is beginning to ebb.

But the rate of COVID-19 deaths continues to be high with 22 more fatalities reported Friday, Oct. 22. The latest deaths to be reported ranged in age from their late 30s to their late 90s.

Seven of those deaths resided in long-term care, 14 in private homes and one was unsheltered. The death toll is 8,537 with 4,725 fatalities in long-term care.

Another 124 deaths are suspected to have been caused by COVID-19 but the person never had a positive coronavirus test.

There are 915 patients hospitalized including 223 in critical condition, down from a yearly high of 1,007 hospitalized patients a week ago. Hospital capacity remains strained in much of the state because of staffing shortages.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The 2,150 new cases reported Friday was the result of more than 37,000 tests and the number of new infections is down by 36% from the same time a week ago.

Nearly all new cases are caused by the more contagious delta variant. Health officials say the best way to avoid a severe infection and to slow the spread of the coronavirus is to be vaccinated.

Minnesota has administered 6.7 million doses of vaccine and 3.4 million people have gotten at least one dose. About 73% of those who are vaccine eligible, aged 12 and older, have gotten at least one shot.

Roughly 62% of Minnesota’s 5.8 million total residents have gotten at least one dose of vaccine.