ST. PAUL -- New cases of COVID-19 infections are on the rise in Minnesota.

Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health says the delta variant is responsible for about 75-percent of the new cases:

Our concern is for some of these regions of the state where there is lower vaccination that...that will be kind of the fuel for a potential fire with increased spread and caused by the variants.

She says every time the virus is transmitted it replicates and every time it replicates it has the chance to mutate:

And that mutation is what has caused variants. And those variants they have the ability to be more transmissible which is what we are seeing, to be more severe.... you know to evade the treatments that we currently have available, evade the vaccines. So we don't want to see variants.

Minnesota's hospitals were caring for 109 COVID-19 patients on Monday. That's the highest number since June 23rd. Over the past week, an average of 99 people have been treated for COVID-19 complications each day.

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An estimated 67.9% of state residents 16 and older have gotten a shot. Progress toward achieving the 70% goal has slowed as the pace of new shots has decreased.

Ehresmann says vaccination rates are the lowest in Greater Minnesota. In Clearwater county, 43 percent of the residents have received one dose of the vaccine, Pine and Todd counties are at 46 percent, Kanabec, Morrison, Mille Lacs and Wadena counties are all at 47 percent.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network. 

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