Minnesota health officials worry communities with low vaccination rates could spark COVID surge

It’s likely already happening. A St. Paul Pioneer Press analysis of the rate of new cases and vaccinations in April and May found that counties with the lowest rate of vaccination had some of the highest numbers of new cases per capita.

More than 85% of new infections are believed to be caused by variants of the coronavirus that can be more contagious and cause more severe infections.

While it’s true that overall case numbers and hospitalizations have receded dramatically, to levels not seen since early in the pandemic, thanks to vaccines and warm weather that welcomed many outside activities.

But the coronavirus is still out there. It’s mutating. And it seeks out those who are most susceptible.

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“If we have pockets of the state where the virus is able to spread more easily and spin off additional variants possibly, that’s of concern to the whole population,” said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner.

It’s a key reason why health officials are constantly pushing residents to get vaccinated in hopes to hit 70% of the 16-and-older population with at

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