ST PAUL, Minn — Wednesday, May 5
- Minnesota moves past 2 million considered fully vaccinated
- Person between 25-29 years old among 17 fatalities, had underlying conditions
- Walz: Timeline for loosening COVID restrictions to be announced Thursday
- Walmart, Sam's Club offer walk-up vaccinations at 80 MN locations
- MDH: COVID cases, hospitalizations both down
- Nearly 60% of Minnesota's eligible population at least partially vaccinated
More than 2 million Minnesotans have completed their COVID-19 series and are now considered fully vaccinated, a milestone that comes just one day before Governor Walz is expected to announce a dial-back in restrictions across the state.
Data released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says as of Monday 2,007,668 people were fully immunized, 45.5% of the population currently eligible to receive vaccine. The state vaccination dashboard says 2,598,871 people have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine (58.9% of those eligible). In all, providers have dispensed nearly 4.5 million doses. Of that total 53.3% is from Pfizer, 42.3% Moderna and 4.5% Johnson & Johnson.
In a press release, Gov. Tim Walz thanked Minnesotans for their part in the new milestone and asked others to get vaccinated quickly.
"Every Minnesotan who gets a shot in their arm brings us closer to closing this chapter and getting back to all the things we love in life," he said. "I encourage everyone who patiently waited their turn to get us to this milestone today to now take their turn, get their shot as soon as possible, and bring about the brighter days that are just around the corner."
For those who have not yet been vaccinated, appointments are available at nine state vaccination sites. Minnesotans can directly make appointments at the state Vaccine Connector website.
Even with the agency's "all hands on deck" vaccination effort, COVID-19 continues to take a toll on Minnesotans. MDH reports that 17 more people have died from the virus, including one in the 25 to 29 age group. MDH spokesman Doug Schultz tells KARE 11 that person "had an underlying condition which contributed to their death."
The new fatalities bring the state's death total to 7,191 since the pandemic began.
State health officials say 1,267 new infections were recorded in the last day, bringing total cases to 582,576. Of those 39,940 are associated with antigen tests. A positive antigen test is considered a positive COVID case, while a positive PCR is considered confirmed.
Testing volume was moderate, with 25,827 tests (19,589 PCR, 6,238 antigen) being processed in private and state labs.
Daily hospitalizations remain steady, with 580 people being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis across the state as of Tuesday. Of those patients 149 required treatment in ICU. In total 30,691 people have been hospitalized with the virus in Minnesota since recordkeeping began in March.
MDH says 562,376 people who tested positive for COVID have recovered to the point where isolation is no longer required.
Young adults ages 20 to 24 account for the largest grouping of cases with 56,561 infections and four deaths, while the virus has had the deadliest impact on Minnesotans ages 85 to 89, claiming 1,322 lives in 6,672 diagnosed cases.
Cook County in northeastern Minnesota remains the state's quietest spot for COVID with just 156 cases and zero fatalities. Hennepin County, the state's largest county, has recorded the most COVID activity with 120,831 cases and 1,715 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 50,357 cases and 867 deaths, Dakota County with 45,046 cases and 442 deaths, and Anoka County with 40,774 cases and 432 fatalities.
Tuesday, May 4
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) held a regular briefing with reporters about the state's COVID-19 situation. You can listen to the full briefing below.
Citing the continued spread of COVID-19 variants in the state, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann asked Minnesotans to be cautious when traveling -- especially to areas with higher rates of the virus.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said many of the people who have sought out vaccines have been able to get them. She said now that the state has a higher supply of vaccine, the next step is to "ramp up" strategies and community partnerships to reach others.
Ehresmann added that this next phase of vaccine distribution -- reaching out to people who may not be "lining up" and actively seeking the opportunity to get vaccinated -- will be more work and more effort.
Asked about President Joe Biden's decision to redistribute vaccine supplies, Malcolm said MDH is waiting to hear details from the CDC, but added that she understands the need for vaccine supply in other states. She said she doesn't have many details so far about how the decision will affect Minnesota's vaccine allocation.
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan spoke live, calling for state legislators to pass the summer learning package in in Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget.
Walz said the $150 million package will "help students catch up on learning disruptions from the pandemic" through field trips and hands-on learning, mental health support, summer preschool, and college courses for graduating seniors.
You can watch the full press conference on KARE 11's YouTube page.
New COVID cases dipped below the 1,000 mark, but deaths related to the virus bumped back up into double-digits, according the data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Health officials say 998 new infections were reported Tuesday, the day of the week all COVID numbers tend to be lowest. Those cases bring Minnesota's total to 581,335 since the start of the pandemic. Testing volume was quite low, with just 13,840 tests (11,652 PCR, 2,188 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health officials consider a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case.
Hennepin County has seen the most coronavirus activity of any county in Minnesota with 120,630 cases and 1,710 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 50,221 cases and 865 deaths, Dakota County with 44,921 cases and 441 deaths, and Anoka County with 40,688 cases and 432 deaths.
Another 11 people have lost their lives to the virus, bringing total fatalities to 7,174. Of those deaths 4,371 (61%) are linked to long-term or assisted living sites.
Hospitalizations due to COVID remain steady but lower, with 575 people being treated in hospitals across the state as of Monday. Of those patients 149 have symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. Total hospitalizations are now up to 30,574.
MDH says 560,733 of the people who have tested positive show enough improvement that isolation is no longer required.
The number of Minnesotans considered fully vaccinated is creeping closer and closer to the two million mark. As of Sunday, 1,991,815 people had completed their COVID vaccination series. That's more than 45% of those currently eligible to be vaccinated. MDH says 2,589,206 people have received at least one COVID immunization (58.7% of the eligible population).