ST. PAUL — Positive test rates for COVID-19 in Minnesota continued to soar in an apparent trajectory toward breaking a pandemic-long record, according to state health department numbers released Thursday, Jan. 6.

The seven-day rolling positive rate for tests in Minnesota was 14.6% in Thursday's report, a more than 1% jump up from the day before. Positive rates have not been at this level since November 2020, when they reached 14.8%. The all-pandemic high was 15.5% in April 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers anything above 10% to be a high risk for public health.

Hospitalizations also continued to climb, reaching 1,469 on Wednesday. While early evidence suggests that the highly infectious omicron variant of COVID-19 is not as deadly as previous strains, experts warn the sheer number of infections could still threaten to overwhelm hospitals. Of the 1,012 of adult intensive care unit beds in Minnesota, around 98% remain occupied — a proportion that has remained more or less constant for at least a month.

The state on Thursday reported 63 deaths from COVID-19, including an individual from Ramsey County between the ages of 25 and 29.

In response to the omicron surge, Minneapolis and St. Paul announced plans to reinstate their public masking requirements. Leaders from cities across the region including Duluth, Rochester and Fargo said they did not have immediate plans to bring back mask mandates of their own.

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When asked Wednesday if Duluth Mayor Emily Larson would seek to reinstate a mask mandate in Duluth, Public Information Officer Kate Van Daele responded: “The city of Duluth continues to track the number of COVID-positive cases in Duluth, St. Louis County and the state. The City Council led the initiative to put the mask mandate in place, and they would be the body to implement it if it were to happen again.”

At-Large City Councilor Terese Tomanek, who led the initial charge to require public masking in 2020, said she has not yet determined whether she will advocate for the now-expired safety precaution to be reinstated.

Following are the MDH COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Thursday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 6,936

  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 82.4 (as of 12/29)

  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 1,056,236

  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 17,505

  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 14.6% (as of 12/29)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 1,469

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 51,557

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 62

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 10,733

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,767,666 or 72.3% of ages 5 and up

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,533,681 or 67.8% of ages 5 and up

  • BOOSTER DOSES ADMINISTERED: 1,774,036