ST. PAUL — The death toll from Minnesota’s latest coronavirus surge continues to climb with 40 more fatalities being reported Wednesday, Oct. 6, by the state Department of Health.

Deaths are not reported uniformly and Wednesday’s tally includes one fatality from July and one from December 2020. But the rest — 23 from September and 15 from October — are from the ongoing spike in cases driven by the more contagious delta variant.

Minnesota has reported 40 or more fatalities in a single day only a handful of times in 2021. Two of them were when data backlogs were reported and the rest were during the end of the state’s biggest surge that began in the fall of 2020 and ended in the winter of 2021.

Those whose deaths were reported Wednesday ranged in age from their late 20s to their early 90s with 29 residing in private homes, nine in long-term care, one in a behavioral health facility and one in a motel.

The death toll is 8,243 with 4,657 of those fatalities residents of long-term care. Another 113 fatalities are suspected to have been caused by COVID-19, but the person never had a positive coronavirus test.

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About 87% of those who’ve died from COVID-19 are seniors and there have been 84 deaths of residents under 40.

Another 3,886 coronavirus cases were recorded Wednesday by state health officials. The state’s test positivity rate is about 7.2% and is back on the rise after a few weeks of relative plateau around 6%.

Health officials say anything over 5% is a sign the pandemic is not under control. The rate of hospitalizations and new cases are also well above the state’s caution thresholds.

There are 864 patients hospitalized including 224 in intensive care — the highest number of beds filled with COVID-19 patients of the year. Intensive care beds are in short supply in much of the state and the Twin Cities metro is also experiencing a shortage of regular hospital beds.

Hospital capacity shortages are not because of a lack of space, but because of a shortage of trained staff.

Health officials maintain that vaccines are the best way to avoid a severe illness and spreading the coronavirus. Breakthrough infections are becoming more common, but about 99% of the 3.1 million fully vaccinated Minnesotans have not reported a breakthrough case.

Minnesota has administered 6.4 million doses of vaccine and 3.4 million people have gotten at least one dose. About 73% of eligible Minnesotans, age 12 and up, have gotten at least one shot.