MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Minnesota health care systems say surgery delays are growing as coronavirus patients crowd hospitals.

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Doctors say hospitals have deferred procedures to free up beds, leaving some patients in prolonged pain. Patient demand over the past month has been the highest in the 21 months of the pandemic, according to health care providers.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 9,042 COVID-19 infections that were identified over the weekend.

 

The state also reported 46 COVID-19 deaths, including seven people in their 30s and 40s.

State leaders are hopeful that Minnesota's progress in providing booster vaccines will disrupt the latest COVID-19 wave and restore hospital schedules.