(Originally published on July 20)

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state’s COVID-19 numbers are up sharply Tuesday, part of a trend we’re seeing nationwide. In Minnesota, 625 new cases were announced, along with one new death. Against the number of new tests processed, Tuesday’s presumed positivity rate is at 11.7%.

The state health department says some of these new numbers are from the weekend, but it’s still a sharp uptick from last week, and experts are warning it will get worse.

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Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic is one of the nation’s leading experts on vaccines. He says he is still wearing a mask even when he steps out of his Mayo office.

“I think there is no question that we are going to see a surge,” he said. “In a crowded scenario, I am in a mask, indoors or outdoors.”

The Minnesota Department of Health say 99% of new cases in Minnesota are in unvaccinated people, and 75% of those new cases are the Delta variant.

“It’s a serious warning for us in Minnesota,” he said. “We are seeing the Delta variant really take over.”

Poland shared a particularly dire warning for those still unvaccinated for COVID.

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“Don’t be deceived that ‘I got this far and I am OK.’ This is a very different variant. It will find you,” he said. “This virus will find everybody who is not immune.”

He is especially worried about children too young to get the vaccine, and teens whose parents are on the fence.

“We are seeing a rise in severe disease and hospitalizations among young people,” Poland said.

He agrees with the American Academy of Pediatrics that, this fall, all kids should wear a mask in school, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

“A mask is not a political symbol. It is a medical symbol of taking care of yourself and others,” he said.

Poland says the risk in even crowded outdoor settings is evidenced by this new surge, which is coming just two weeks after the Fourth of July.

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“This is a serious, current and present danger to you and your families’ health if you are not vaccinated,” he said.

Consider the following options for living it up in the City of Angels on and around this very German holiday which began in Munich two centuries ago to appropriately commemorate the royal wedding of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Party on, Bavarian-style!
[caption id="attachment_824454" align="alignright" width="300"] (credit: Gary I./yelp)[/caption] Oktoberfest Alpine Village 833 W Torrance Blvd. Torrance, CA 90502 (310) 327-4384 http://alpinevillagecenter.com/oktoberfest/ Date: Through October 27, 2018 at midnight Billed as home to Southern California's oldest Oktoberfest celebration, Alpine Village's festivities rivals those taking place across the pond in the old country. Look forward to the traditions of Bavarian, including traditional fare, German beers brewed by Warsteiner and all the other tappings of this joyous festival. Can you say oom pah pah?
[caption id="attachment_426635" align="alignright" width="300"] (credit: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] Oktoberfest DTLA Pershing Square 532 S. Olive Street Los Angeles, CA 90013 (213) 847-4970 www.oktoberfestdtla.com Date: October 20 and 21, 2018 at 2 p.m. The third annual Oktoberfest DTLA means music and food and, of course, beer--including the best from local breweries as well as Germany's Paulaner, a big deal during Oktoberfest. Dine on everything hardy, up to and including traditional bratwurst in a weekend when tasting tends to be the best approach. Admission is free.
[caption id="attachment_680180" align="alignright" width="300"] (credit: Karen E./Yelp)[/caption] Wurstküche Oktoberfest  Wurstküche Restaurant 625 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 (213) 687-4444 https://www.wurstkuche.com/#oktoberfest-section Date: Various dates in October 2018 at 4 p.m. Enticing sausages from artisanal butchers topped with sautéed sweet peppers or sauerkraut or both are on the menu as are vegetarian bratwursts, kielbasas and Italian links. Entertainment comes straight from the Munich Boom-Steiners and dress code dictates your best Bavarian attire with lederhosen and dirndl skirts leading this sartorial list. Oh, and practice your yodeling. You may be called on to show off in the spirit of this occasion.