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COVID-19 death toll climbs above 10,000 in Minnesota

December 16, 2021 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A coronavirus pandemic wave caused by the fast-spreading delta variant has quickened the death toll in Minnesota where more than 10,000 have died of COVID-19.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported 54 more COVID-19 deaths confirmed by testing, raising the total to 10,018.

“There is a heaviness, for sure, hitting this sort of a marker and the fact that we have had so many deaths this year even after we have more tools available to protect against it,” state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “Every death is a terrible loss. The more tools we have and the more preventable these things truly are, the more heartbreaking it is that we still are losing people.”

State health data showed that it took 188 days from March to September for Minnesota to go from 7,000 to 8,000 deaths, but then 58 days to reach 9,000 and 35 days to reach 10,000, the Star Tribune reported.

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More than half the COVID-19 deaths have happened in inpatient wards or emergency rooms.

Sixteen doctors and front-line caregivers from the Minnesota Medical Association gathered Wednesday to urge vaccinations and protections such as mask-wearing and social distancing during the holidays.

Even as the death toll climbed above the grim threshold of 10,000, Minnesota has the 38th lowest rate of COVID-19 mortality among states since the start of the pandemic. Kris Ehresmann, state infectious disease director, credited vaccination progress in Minnesota, where more than 93% of seniors are fully vaccinated and more than 70% have also gotten booster shots.