Monday, Jan. 25
- Minnesota COVID-19 cases lowest since September, deaths lowest since October
- Adults 65+ will have a 24-window to sign up for vaccine appointments, then be randomly selected instead of first-come, first-served
- State to hold mass vaccination event for educators in St. Paul
- State passes new vaccine milestone: more than 250,000 Minnesotans with at least one dose
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will provide the Minnesota Department of Health with more than $375 million to assist in the state's COVID-19 pandemic response.
According to a press release from U.S. Senator's Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, the funding is part of a $22 billion federal program to help states across the country.
“For more than ten months, Minnesotans have worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic. This much-needed additional funding will expand testing and help prepare communities for vaccine distribution. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but we must continue to do everything we can to get communities the resources they need,” said Sen. Klobuchar in a press release.
"In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, my priorities have been Minnesota's priorities—getting help to families, small businesses, schools, our health care system, and more," said Sen. Smith in a press release. "This funding will put real dollars behind testing, contact tracing, and vaccination efforts to help us get a better handle on the pandemic and reopen our hard-hit economy. But there’s much more we must do to lift up and support all communities in Minnesota during this difficult time. I stand ready to work with my colleagues and the new Biden Administration to lead an equitable and effective response to the pandemic."
According to the release, $324,608,098 will go towards COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, surveillance, containment and mitigation, while $50,958,885 will be allocated for other coronavirus vaccination activities.
Gov. Tim Walz announced actions to help make COVID-19 vaccines more available statewide.
According to a press release from Gov. Walz's office, the new plans include a 72-hour goal for providers to administer 90% of their vaccine doses, and the remaining doses within one week. If a vaccine provider can't meet these goals, new vaccine allocations could be administered to that specific provider.
The other actions include a mass vaccination event for Minnesota educators, and a new system for allowing adults who are 65+ to sign up for vaccine appointments.
Gov. Tim Walz held a news conference on Monday to unveil the Due North Education Plan for Minnesota, focused on equity in the state's educational system.
The plan prioritizes in-person education for as many students as is safely possible, expands academic opportunities, mental health services and out-of-school opportunities, and includes a one-time investment to help schools recover from pandemic enrollment loss. Walz's office says it will expand access to opportunities for students of color and Indigenous students, and students in greater Minnesota.
The plan will also involve launching a statewide family engagement model to support schools, and a statewide mentor program to support and retain teachers, according to Walz's office.
Monday morning, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported the lowest numbers of both new COVID-19 cases and new deaths that the state has seen in months.
According to MDH, three people died of coronavirus across the state in the last 24 hours. That is the lowest single-day death toll Minnesota has reported since Oct. 12.
MDH also reported only 794 new cases on Monday. That includes 663 positive PCR test results, considered "confirmed" by MDH, and 131 antigen test results, considered "probable."
The last time Minnesota saw cases that low was Sept. 30, with 689 cases total.
Those statistics are excluding New Year's Day, when MDH did not report an update in observance of the holiday.
The latest data available on vaccine distribution on Monday showed that as of Sunday, 529,375 doses has been shipped to providers, 153,300 have been shopped for the CDC long-term care vaccination program, and 49.1% of Minnesota's doses have been used. As of Friday, nearly 267,000 Minnesotans had received at least one dose, and over 67,000 have received both doses.
Gov. Tim Walz announced changes to the Minnesota COVID-19 vaccination pilot program on Monday. Instead of having adults 65 and older sign up on a first-come, first-served basis, they can sign up at mn.gov/vaccine during a 24-hour window from Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 5 a.m. to Wednesday, Jan. 27 at 5 a.m. Then people will be drawn to receive a vaccine at random.
Walz also announced Monday that the state will hold a mass vaccination event for Minnesota educators, school staff and child care workers at Xcel Energy Center from Jan. 28 through Feb. 1. Appointments will be required, and must be made through the school districts, schools or employers.
Walz is expected to announce a "sweeping education plan" at 2 p.m. on Monday. KARE 11 will broadcast it live on air, on KARE11.com and on the KARE 11 YouTube page.
Sunday, Jan. 24
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,196 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, along with 32 new deaths.
MDH's COVID-19 case definition includes both antigen testing and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. Positive PCR test results are considered confirmed cases, while positive antigen test results are considered probable cases.
Sunday's new case total includes 1,012 confirmed cases and 184 probable cases.
The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 454,989, with 18,967 of those as antigen test results.
MDH says 32 new deaths from the virus were reported. That pushes the total number of fatalities in Minnesota to 6,095.
To date, 23,884 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 4,965 of them needing care in the ICU.
MDH reports that 437,827 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate.
Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 45,863 cases and three deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 40,918 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,163 out of 5,977 cases.
In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 98,533 cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 91,563 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.
A total of 37,599 cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting,
7,760 were in a corrections setting, and 970 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 18,127 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.
MDH says 30,523 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 13,545 of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. The source of transmission for 156,369 cases is still unknown or missing.
MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers. However, now MDH is urging anyone who is symptomatic or even asymptomatic to be tested. Testing locations can be found online.
Hennepin County has the most COVID activity in the state with 94,378 cases and 1,502 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 40,624 cases and 748 deaths, Dakota County with 33,540 cases and 354 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,357 cases and 368 deaths.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.