Minnesota COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 600

Health

Minneapolis Star Tribune 03 May, 2021 - 11:36am 39 views

Hospitalizations in Minnesota for COVID-19 dropped below 600 over the weekend, relieving pressure on the state's medical providers and offering further evidence that the latest pandemic wave has peaked.

The 576 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota on Sunday included 155 patients who needed intensive care because of breathing problems or other complications of the infectious disease. The latest hospital totals were reported Monday along with three more deaths and 1,105 more infections with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The additions raise Minnesota's pandemic totals to 7,163 deaths and 580,340 diagnosed infections.

Progress has slowed toward Minnesota's goal of providing COVID-19 vaccine to 80% of eligible people 16 and older.

Nearly 2.6 million people have received at least first doses — equating to 59% of the state's eligible population — and nearly 2 million of them have completed the one- or two-dose series. But a rolling seven-day average of daily doses administered in Minnesota has dropped from nearly 67,000 in the week ending April 11 to less than 50,000.

Senior citizens have suffered 89% of Minnesota's COVID-19 deaths.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in 2021 swung from a low of 210 on March 6 to 699 on April 14 back to the current level. Hospitals neared capacity during this latest wave but did not need to take the steps during prior waves last year of deferring or delaying non-urgent surgeries or procedures. The latest dashboard data showed that 1,106 of 1,208 intensive care beds in Minnesota — a rate of 91% — were filled Sunday by patients with COVID-19 or other unrelated medical issues.

The seven-day average positivity rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing in Minnesota rose from 3.5% on March 3 to 7.5% on April 8 — indicating a significant increase in viral spread. The rate has since declined to 6.2%.

Signs of a decline in the latest COVID-19 wave emerged in Mayo Clinic's pandemic forecasting as well. The organization's 14-day outlook for Minnesota shows a more than 25% decline from 1,579 new infections per day in the state right now to 1,184 by May 15.

© 2021 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

Read full article at Minneapolis Star Tribune

Coronavirus in Minnesota: case positivity rate continues to decline | MinnPost

MinnPost 03 May, 2021 - 02:07pm

The Minnesota Department of Health also reports that nearly 2 million residents having been completely vaccinated.

Sign up here to get our daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage.

MDH also said Monday there have been 580,340 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 1,105 from Sunday’s count and is based on 20,527 new tests. The seven-day case positivity average, which lags by a week, is 6.2 percent, down from 7 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

As of Saturday, the most recent day of data available, 2,585,053 people in Minnesota, or 46 percent of the population, had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The state reports 1,984,517, or 35 percent of the population, have completed the vaccination series. More data on vaccines here.

The most recent data available show 155 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 421 are in the hospital with COVID-19 not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

The latest: Find all of MinnPost’s coronavirus coverage here and sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

More from MinnPost: Tracking Minnesota’s coronavirus numbers | About Minnesota’s model for predicting cases of COVID-19How an asymptomatic person can still spread coronavirus | How long has this been going on?

Community resources: state of Minnesota’s COVID-19 website | How to protect yourself and others | volunteer opportunities | other ways to help

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

This list spans the last seven days.

MinnPost | P.O. Box 18438 | Minneapolis, MN 55418 | 612.455.6950

MinnPost's coronavirus coverage is free and accessible to all thanks to the support of our members. Will you make a tax-deductible donation right now to support this essential journalism?

Overdose deaths up 27% in Minnesota last year, MDH says

KSTP 03 May, 2021 - 01:08pm

The number of preventable overdose deaths spiked last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

MDH said 1,008 Minnesotans died from an overdose in 2020, a 27% increase from the year prior.

According to the department, opioid deaths rose 59%, and those involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl and fentanyl analogues rose 81%.

"Minnesota families are struggling, and the overdose deaths in 2020 are a terrible reminder that those struggles can result in preventable deaths," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. "The year has been unprecedented in so many ways, and the staggering number of drug overdose deaths shows the need to amplify our prevention efforts and strengthen the ability of communities to support people and connect them with services."

Deaths from non-opioids also rose in 2020. Psychostimulant-involved deaths, which includes methamphetamine, rose 44%, according to MDH, while those involving benzodiazepines increased 70% and deaths involving cocaine jumped 41%.

"The last year has been incredibly challenging and demonstrates the need for increased public health measures," Dana Farley, MDH drug overdose prevention supervisor, said. "Prevention tools such as access to naloxone, linkages to care and overdose fatality reviews improve our understanding of why people are using drugs and lead to recovery and saved lives."

More information is available on the Drug Overdose Dashboard.

Support and recovery resources are available here.

Minnesota drug overdose deaths jump 27%

Minneapolis Star Tribune 03 May, 2021 - 11:52am

The COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel a 27% increase in drug overdose deaths in Minnesota last year.

Overdose fatalities reached 1,008 in 2020, with the first large increase coming in March as the state saw its first coronavirus cases and deaths, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The onset of a previously unknown virus that had already taken many lives across the world led many treatment and outreach resources to abruptly shut down, limiting access and support to those with substance use disorders.

"With COVID there's this terrible storm about lack of access to treatment medications, housing and treatment facilities," said Dr. Ryan Kelly, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. "It made it more difficult to access those things and people died because of that."

Drug-related deaths increased 64% in March 2020 compared with the previous year and then peaked at over 100 fatalities in the months of May and August.

"There needs to be so much more education about how to treat people with addiction and mental illness issues," said Judy Greske, who lost her son Jason Dobosenski in September to a drug overdose.

"COVID has led to a huge increase for a lot of reasons," said Marissa Bonnie, who does outreach for Southside Harm Reduction Services in Minneapolis. "A lot of people have isolated way more which can lead to people using alone or having limited resources."

That includes access to lifesaving naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose, as well as clean needles to prevent infections, Bonnie said.

Last week, federal officials eliminated a rule that required doctors and other health care professionals to receive additional training in order to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder.

Treatment advocates hope the change will make the treatment medication more available as access has been a problem nationwide as well as in Minnesota.

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of buprenorphine prescribers has increased 12% in Minnesota, although that only includes professionals who consent to be listed on the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency.

Still, 31 Minnesota counties do not have any prescriber listed, according to a Star Tribune analysis.

"There are major treatment deserts across the United States, especially in rural areas," said Dr. Gavin Bart, director of addiction medicine at Hennepin Healthcare. "I am hopeful that many of the changes that have occurred with COVID in allowing telemedicine will continue beyond the pandemic that at least will bring [addiction] treatment to telemedicine."

As in previous years, opioids, which include pain pills and heroin, were among the substances that led to the most overdose deaths, although some deaths are linked to several different types of medications.

But fentanyl, a synthetic opioid developed as a painkiller more powerful than morphine, is now being mixed in with many street drugs, leaving users unaware of what they are taking.

"It is likely that a year of increased stress and isolation, economic desolation, political turmoil and civil unrest have contributed to this but fentanyl is really the main indicator," said Bart. "It is greater and greater penetration of fentanyl into the drug using market."

Altogether, deaths linked to fentanyl and closely related compounds increased 81% in 2020.

Dobosenski, 36, was one of those who died taking heroin laced with fentanyl.

"Heroin is bad enough but when they are getting and using the dose that isn't safe for them they are getting fentanyl," said Greske, a paramedic with Mayo Clinic Ambulance in Duluth.

In her 23 years on the job, Greske was on the front lines when drug overdose deaths became more common across the state. In 2000, Minnesota had just 129 drug overdose deaths, according to state officials.

After he had a car accident in his late teens, Dobosenski was prescribed pain medications, beginning a relationship with opioids that is familiar to many Minnesota families.

"When he wasn't getting it prescribed to him anymore that is when he went to the heroin," Greske said. "It is cheaper and easier to get."

At the same time, he sought help for underlying mental health issues but never found treatment that worked.

He did find some success with medication-assisted treatment for his opioid use, but that was often interrupted due to affordability issues, problems with insurance coverage or the lack of mental health care.

"It was such a complicated cycle for 10 years and more that ended this way," Greske said.

The problems are compounded among groups that historically have been underserved by the health care system.

Compared with Minnesota's white population, Native Americans are seven times as likely and Blacks are twice as likely to die of a drug overdose, according to the state Health Department based on 2019 data. Statistics have not yet been compiled for 2020.

"We don't need to wait for a report. We know family members, we know friends," said Jase Roe, a case manager at Homeward Bound, a shelter that serves the Indigenous population.

When his clients leave the shelter, they have difficulty finding services, including drug treatment, housing and mental health care.

"There's no place for them to go so they self-medicate," he said. "We need more culturally responsive services that are in Minneapolis."

Minnesota Department of Health officials say they are working with community groups, emergency medical services and harm reduction agencies to connect people to treatment resources, as well as providing naloxone to public safety agencies, drug users and family members.

"All of these deaths are preventable and it is our goal to prevent these deaths going forward," said Sam Robertson, drug overdose prevention coordinator for the health agency.

Overdose deaths also increased for non-opioid drugs, including a 44% rise in deaths from psychostimulants, including methamphetamine, and a 70% growth in fatalities from benzodiazepines.

In the seven-county metro area, overdose deaths were up 40%, with a 21% escalation outside the metro.

© 2021 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

Minnesota reports 1,105 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths Monday

FOX 9 03 May, 2021 - 11:43am

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,105 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths Monday. 

Minnesota has now seen 580,340 COVID-19 cases and 7,163 deaths attributed to the disease since the pandemic began. 

The 1,105 newly reported COVID-19 cases were out of 20,527 tests, a 5.4% positivity rate. Minnesota’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate continues to drop, now down to 6.2% from its spring peak at 7.4% in early April.

Anything over 5% is a concern for MDH because it indicates a high rate of community transmission. 

One of the three deaths reported on Monday was a person in their 30s. 

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decrease week over week. There are currently 576 people hospitalized with COVID-19 across Minnesota, compared to 618 at this time last week. Of the 576 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 155 are in the ICU. 

Minnesota health leaders are urging everyone who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine -- even if you have already beat the virus once.

Meanwhile, 58.6% of eligible Minnesotans have at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 45% are fully vaccinated. 

Over 4.3 million vaccine doses have been administered in Minnesota to date. 

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX Television Stations

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, May 3

Bring Me The News 03 May, 2021 - 11:06am

Monday's COVID-19 update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) includes 1,105 new cases and three new deaths.

The state's death toll is 7,163 since the start of the pandemic. Of the total deaths, 61% (4,370) were residents of long-term care.

Through May 1, the state reported that 2,585,053 people have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 1,984,517 people have completed their vaccine series.

Fifty-nine percent of Minnesotans aged 16-plus have received at least one shot, while 87% of the age-65-plus population has had at least one dose of a vaccine. Overall, 46% of the state's population has had at least one dose.

MDH has a public dashboard to track vaccine progress in Minnesota, and you can view it here.

Through May 2, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 576, which is down from the 619 reported Friday and continues a downward trend since mid-April.

Of those hospitalized, 155 people were in intensive care (down from 166 reported Friday) and 421 were receiving non-ICU treatment (down from 453).

Here's how Minnesota's hospital admissions have progressed since Mar. 7.

The 1,105 positive results in Monday's update were from 20,527 completed tests, creating a test positivity rate of 5.38%.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's test positivity rate over the past seven days is 5.84%.

The World Health Organization recommends that a percent positive rate (total positives divided by total completed tests) of below 5% for at least two weeks is necessary to safely reopen the economy. That 5% threshold is based on total positives divided by total tests.

You Can Get BMTN Special Offers!

Overdose deaths rise sharply in Minnesota

KARE11.com 03 May, 2021 - 09:30am

ST PAUL, Minn. — The number of Minnesotans who died from drug overdoses rose sharply in 2020, despite a concerted effort to recognize those deaths as public health crisis.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) a total of 1,008 people died from drug overdoses statewide in 2020, compared to 792 in 2019. That amounts to a 27% year-over-year increase.

Epidemiologists cautioned that these stats are based on preliminary numbers for 2020, so there's a good chance the actual numbers of deaths will be higher as more reports come in from medical examiners. The preliminary statistics don't distinguish between intentional overdoses and accidental ones.

The data collected by MDH showed that overdoses of all major categories of drugs increased, but opioids - especially synthetic ones - led the way in the death statistics.

Opioid deaths rose by 59%, climbing from 412 in 2019 to 654 in 2020. Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, were responsible for 82% of all opioid-related deaths. The fentanyl death category alone rose by more than 80% from 2019 to 2020.

Overdose deaths rose in all age groups, but those between the ages of 25 and 34 accounted for the highest number of those fatalities. In that age bracket deaths jumped 57% in 2020 over 2019 figures.

The rise in fatal drug overdoses was also more marked in the 7-county metro area, which includes Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott and Washington counties.

The number of people who died of overdoses in the Twin Cities metro area rose by 40% 2020 versus 2019.  In the remainder of the state, often referred to as "greater Minnesota," those deaths rose by 21%.

The preliminary numbers also point to a 44% increase in overdose deaths from psychostimulants, including methamphetamines. Deaths from benzodiazepines went up by 70% and fatalities from cocaine rose by 41% year to year.

According to the Health Department's opioid dashboard, prescriptions of opioid painkillers have dropped significantly since 2015. The legislature has also passed bills providing immunity from prosecution for those who report overdoses in an effort to save lives.

The legislature also passed a bill substantially increasing the registration fees for companies that sell prescription opioid medications in Minnesota, to help pay for the cost of treatment and prevention of opioid addictions. That's a recognition of the role pharmaceutical companies played promoting use of those addictive drugs for long-term chronic conditions.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has also brought lawsuits against opioid manufacturers.

There has been speculation that COVID-19's effects on the economy and the mental health of Americans may have been a factor the increase in drug use in both accidental and intentional overdoses.

The state's experts are expected to weigh in on the new numbers Monday.

Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.

MDH: Fatal Overdoses Rose 27% In 2020, Driven By Surge In Fentanyl-Linked Deaths

CBS Minnesota 03 May, 2021 - 08:32am

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Drug overdose deaths increased 27% in Minnesota last year, health officials announced Monday. More than 1,000 people died of overdoses during a year that brought the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest stemming from the murder of George Floyd.

The Minnesota Department of Health says that 1,008 people in Minnesota died of an overdose in 2020, up from 792 people in 2019. A graph of the deaths by month shows that every month in 2020 had a higher number of overdose deaths than the same month in 2019. As the graph shows, the overdose numbers begin to surge in March, when the pandemic began in Minnesota.

“The year has been unprecedented in so many ways, and the staggering number of drug overdose deaths shows the need to amplify our prevention efforts and strengthen the ability of communities to support people and connect them with services,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm, in a statement.

Preliminary data show that about half of the overdose deaths last year involved synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Such deaths were up 81% over 2019.

Overdoses from commonly-prescribed opioids, like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine, accounted for about 200 deaths last year, an increase of over 50%. Health officials say this increase is a reversal of years of progress, as 2018 and 2019 saw declines in deaths linked to commonly-prescribed opioids.

The data also show an increase in non-opioid deaths. Fatal overdoses involving psychostimulants, such as methamphetamine, increased 44%. Deaths involving cocaine also increased by more than 40% while fatal overdoses involving benzodiazepines, or tranquilizers, increased 70%.

Health officials say the increase in overdose deaths last year underscores the need for public health measures addressing the issue, such as increasing access to the overdose-preventing drug naloxone and helping more Minnesotans get the care they need.

For those who are suffering, help is available, health officials say. A list of recovery resources from the University of Minnesota can be found here.

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Sunday, May 2

Bring Me The News 02 May, 2021 - 11:46am

Sunday's COVID-19 update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) includes 1,711 new cases and six new deaths.

The state's death toll is 7,160 since the start of the pandemic. Of the total deaths, 61% (4,370) were residents of long-term care.

Through April 30, the state reported that 2,574,895 people have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 1,972,888 people have completed their vaccine series.

Fifty-eight percent of Minnesotans aged 16-plus have received at least one shot, while 87.2% of the age-65-plus population has had at least one dose of a vaccine. Overall, 46.3% of the state's population has had at least one dose.

MDH has a public dashboard to track vaccine progress in Minnesota, and you can view it here.

Through April 29, the number of people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota was 619, which is down from the 644 reported Thursday and continues a downward trend since mid-April.

Of those hospitalized, 166 people were in intensive care (down from 176 reported Thursday) and 453 were receiving non-ICU treatment (down from 468).

Here's how Minnesota's hospital admissions have progressed since Mar. 7.

The 1,711 positive results in Sunday's update were from 35,781 completed tests, creating a test positivity rate of 4.78%.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Minnesota's test positivity rate over the past seven days is 5.80%.

The World Health Organization recommends that a percent positive rate (total positives divided by total completed tests) of below 5% for at least two weeks is necessary to safely reopen the economy. That 5% threshold is based on total positives divided by total tests.

You Can Get BMTN Special Offers!

1,713 more COVID-19 cases, 6 new deaths reported in Minnesota

Minneapolis Star Tribune 02 May, 2021 - 11:30am

Minnesota health officials on Sunday reported 1,713 new COVID-19 cases, as the seven-day trend in new cases continued to stay flat.

At least 2,574,895 Minnesotans have received one dose of a COVID vaccine, and 1,972,888 have completed their vaccinations.

With the latest vaccinations, Minnesota is 58% of the way to its goal of vaccinating most residents aged 16 or older.

So far, 579,235 Minnesotans have had confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 that were reported to state officials after being confirmed by testing.

The Health Department reported 6 additional deaths from complications of COVID-19 on Sunday, none of whom lived in assisted living or long-term care facilities. Those who died were between the ages of 65 and 89.

Minnesota has recorded 7,160 COVID-19 fatalities since the first death was reported last March.

People with underlying health conditions, including heart, lung and kidney disease, are more likely to develop serious complications of COVID that require medical attention.

The total number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 complications in Minnesota throughout the pandemic is 30,360.

A total of 16 patients were newly admitted to hospitals Sunday, with three newly admitted to the ICU.

© 2021 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

Health Stories