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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A top Mayo Clinic expert says Minnesota is experiencing the beginning of another surge in COVID-19 cases and Mayo's modeling predicts the state will have among the highest infection rates in the nation during the next two weeks.

Dr. Gregory Poland says we are beginning to see the effects of Spring Break travel and the relaxing of pandemic restrictions. He says the increases involve younger people and blames the B117 or UK variant due to its more easily transmissible nature. Poland says that could lead to higher numbers of younger people dying from the new illness.

The Mayo Clinic's predictive US coronavirus map projects the number of infections in Minnesota will grow from around 40 per 100,000 people to almost 50 per 100,000 between now and April 26th. If the forecast proves accurate, Minnesota would have the second-highest infection rate in the nation. Only Michigan would have a higher rate at over 80 infections per 100,000 people. By comparison, Florida currently has a rate of 27 infections per 100,000 and Texas is at 12 per 100,000.

Olmsted County Public Health today reported the weekly count of new cases, which had been fairly steady for about a month, increased last week from 133 to 148 for an average of 21 new cases per day. It was the highest weekly total since the week that ended February 8th when Olmsted County reported 163 new cases.

Olmsted County Public Health

Hospitalizations due to the viral illness in Minnesota have been steadily increasing for the past month. The State Health Department says just over 680 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 164 of those patients are in intensive care. That is the highest number of ICU beds filled by COVID patients since January 2nd.

Statewide, just over 1700 new COVID-19 infections were reported today, including 34 new cases in Olmsted County. 16 additional deaths were reported today throughout Minnesota.

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