Media Advisory: Reinfection cases added to COVID-19 web data today

Media Advisory
Nov. 1, 2021

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Media Advisory: Reinfection cases added to COVID-19 web data today

Today’s update includes 2,857 newly reported cases and 7,597 reinfection cases recorded since the start of the pandemic for a total of 10,454

As part of the data updates announced last Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today is adding the number of COVID-19 reinfections to the total shown under the Minnesota Case Overview of the Situation Update webpage.

As of Nov. 1, Minnesota has had 8,184 instances of reinfections since the start of the pandemic. Of that total number, 587 were already included in the state’s case total as separate cases due to discrepancies in matching people with multiple tests. Including the remaining 7,597 reinfections in the case overview pushes today’s case figure to 10,454 — 7,597 are the reinfections being added and 2,857 are new cases.

As the pandemic stretches past 20 months, some people have become infected with COVID-19 more than once. This is called a reinfection. As reinfections have happened during the pandemic, MDH has been collecting that information, but we have not been including those reinfections in our overall case counts until now due to the lack of a standard national case definition. Each of these reinfections was still treated as a case and follow up occurred to provide them with information on what they should do after receiving a positive test result. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists recently provided an official case definition for a reinfection case. They define a reinfection as when a person tests positive for COVID-19 more than 90 days after a previous positive test. This formal, standardized definition is a key step paving the way for MDH to now report reinfections in our data, and so we will be making that addition.

Previously, if a person tested positive for COVID-19 more than once, they were still only counted once on MDH’s Situation Update webpage. Moving forward, MDH will start reporting reinfections as a separate total over time. The total number of people infected with COVID-19 one or more times will continue to be reported with case data.

The continued spread of COVID-19, particularly with the high transmissibility of the delta variant and risk of reinfection, highlights why it is so important for everyone to continue taking steps to slow the spread. Information on preventing spread can be found on the MDH website at Protect Yourself & Others: COVID-19.

It is important for people to get vaccinated even if they have had COVID-19 in the past. Even if someone had COVID-19 in the past and recovered, they are at risk for reinfection, and each infection brings risks to a person’s health and the health of people around them. In fact, a new CDC study released last week showed that among adults hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19, unvaccinated people who were recently infected with COVID-19 (90-179 days earlier) were more than five times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared with people who were recently fully vaccinated (see Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Among Adults Hospitalized with COVID-19–Like Illness with Infection-Induced or mRNA Vaccine-Induced SARS-CoV-2 Immunity — Nine States, January–September 2021).

-MDH-


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993

doug.schultz@state.mn.us