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Live updates: Vaccination rates tied to dropping of mask mandate

Here is the latest information on COVID-19 cases and trends in Minnesota, and the effort to vaccinate all residents against the virus.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Thursday, May 6      

  • Walz sets timeline for dropping statewide restrictions, mask mandate
  • Minnesota moves past 2 million considered fully vaccinated
  • Person between 25-29 years old among 17 fatalities reported Wednesday, had underlying conditions
  • 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 eyes will be focused on Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccination rate now that Gov. Tim Walz has tied it to ending the statewide mask mandate.

On Thursday Walz announced a three-step timeline leading to the end of most statewide restrictions by May 28, and to dropping the mask mandate as soon as 70% of currently eligible Minnesotans (age 16 and older) get at least one dose of vaccine. As of Tuesday that percentage was at 59.3, with 2,614,319 people having received at least one shot.

Yesterday the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced Minnesota had hit a significant vaccination milestone, with more than 2 million people having completed their COVID series to be considered completely vaccinated. Today that number is at 2,035,325 (46.1% of those eligible). 

Of counties in the Twin Cities metro, most are above the 60% threshold with eligible people receiving one or more immunizations. Sherburne County lags behind with a rate of under 40%. 

Credit: KARE

Restrictions will be lifted despite Minnesota's continuing battle against the virus. On Thursday MDH reported 1,661 new infections, bringing total COVID cases to 584,227 since the pandemic started. The new cases are based on 38,262 tests (34,065 PCR, 4,197 antigen) processed in private and state labs. A positive PCR test is considered a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case. 

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Another 13 lives have been lost to the virus, pushing Minnesota's total fatalities to 7,204. Current COVID hospitalizations across the state are steady with 565 patients being treated on an inpatient basis, 152 of them in ICU. That brings total hospitalizations up to 30,783.

Credit: KARE

Of those who have tested positive for the virus, 563,364 have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

RELATED: Gov. Walz announces timeline to end Minnesota COVID restrictions

Wednesday, May 5 

11 a.m.

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.  

Credit: KARE

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.

Credit: KARE

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.

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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.

Credit: KARE