Of 102 adult intensive care beds in central Minnesota hospitals – including those in Brainerd and St. Cloud – 101 were occupied and nearly half contained a COVID-19 patient, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Across the country, more ICU beds – 1,232 – were occupied between both COVID and non-COVID patients than at any point since the pandemic began, and in the central region the current number is just one bed below the high of 102 posted on Nov. . 18. 2020.
Among the adult non-ICU beds, 35 of a total of 769 were open in central Minnesota, representing 4.6% of the beds available. Almost a quarter of filled beds – 23.4% – contained COVID-19 patients. Twelve gush beds were also in use across the state, all of which are in the central region.
RELATED: Patients Relocate to Good Sam Site as COVID-19 Cases Rise in Lakes Area and State Spikes
Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd reported Friday that its intensive care unit had nine patients, six of whom were COVID positive and all of whom were unvaccinated. The Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby reported that between November 12 and Thursday, five new COVID-19 patients were admitted from 34 hospitalizations, three of whom were unvaccinated. Earlier this week on Monday, CRMC had nine COVID-19 patients, five of whom were not vaccinated.
During a week when the number of new cases reported was generally the same as a week earlier, the state also reported deaths of nine residents in north central Minnesota. The dead included three Morrison County residents, one aged 55-59 and two aged 90-94; two residents of Wadena County, one aged 75-79 years and one unknown age; two Crow Wing County residents, one aged 80-84 and one in their 60s; a Todd County resident aged 50-54 and a Aitkin County resident aged 75-79.
RELATED: COVID-19 Cases Rise in the Central Minnesota Region
The positivity rate in much of the region remained higher than the state as a whole as of the last date for which data is available. Between October 31 and November 6, the nationally reported positivity rate was 9.3%. In six out of seven north-central districts, the positivity rate was between 10 and 15%. Only Crow Wing County stayed in the 7-10% range.
The weekly case rate over the same period also generally exceeded the national average, with Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena counties each reporting more than 50 new cases per 10,000 residents. Nationwide it was 44 out of 10,000.
The latest available data among Crow Wing County’s residents showed 16 new hospital admissions for COVID-19 registered since November 12th.
A separate Friday record from the county public health department – which usually has a delay in reporting – provided more details on some of these residents who got sick enough to be hospitalized. Twenty-four Crow Wing County residents who tested positive in November have been in the hospital for some time. The mean age of this group was 68 years old, with the youngest being 21 and the oldest being 94 years old. Eleven of the 24 residents were under 65, including three under 50.
RELATED: Grateful for life after COVID-19 fear, Koering says regretful vaccine skepticism
In October, 56 Crow Wing County residents who tested positive were hospitalized, again with nearly half of those under 65, with an overall median age of 65.
Fourteen Crow Wing residents have died of COVID-19 since early October, including three men under 60 – a 50-year-old, a 53-year-old and a 58-year-old.
Four of the seven counties in northern Minnesota remain below the 50% mark for the percentage of the eligible population who completed the vaccination series: Morrison (45.3%), Mille Lacs (45.1%), Wadena ( 44.2.). %) and Todd (43.1%). Across the country, 64% of people aged 5 and over have completed the series.
Among the newly eligible 5-11 year olds, Crow Wing County tops the region on both raw youth vaccine numbers – 388 – and on a per capita basis, which was 60 per 10,000 residents. Todd County, at the other end of the spectrum and considered the least vaccinated county in the area, has reported 55 vaccinated 5-11 year olds so far, which is 22 per 10,000 residents.
RELATED: Riverside Elementary Home to Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
Crow Wing County also leads the region when it comes to the number of people who have received their first vaccine doses since mid-August. With a rise of 4,371 people with their first doses between August 11 and Thursday, the county saw 672 people for every 10,000 people who looked for their first syringe. Almost 1,000 of these residents, or 22%, have been looking for these shots since early November. Morrison County, which has had an additional 2,013 residents receiving their first vaccinations since mid-August, saw the largest percentage increase in the region that month, with 552 newly vaccinated, or 27.4%.