x
Breaking News
More () »

Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

Live updates: New COVID-19 cases remain below 1,000 in Minnesota for second day in row

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. — Sunday, May 16    

  • Minnesota health officials report 805 new COVID cases, 10 more deaths
  • Minnesota's mask mandate ended by Gov. Walz Friday
  • Minneapolis, St. Paul keep theirs in place for now
  • Kids in school will still be required to wear masks through the end of the academic year
  • CDC panel endorses Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15
  • Governor says Minnesota can beat Biden's vaccine goal of 70% by July 4

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 805 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 10 additional deaths. 

That makes Sunday the second day in a row with less than 1,000 newly reported cases. Five of the last seven days, including Sunday, dipped below the 1,000-case marker. 

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 638 confirmed cases and 167 probable cases.

RELATED: What are the different types of coronavirus tests?

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 594,427, with 42,070 of those as antigen test results.

MDH says 10 deaths from the virus were reported. The total number of fatalities in Minnesota is 7,296.

To date, 31,393 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 6,393 of them needing care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 578,338 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate. 

As for the state's vaccination effort, MDH says 2,722,944 people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 61.5% of Minnesota's eligible 16 and older population. Of that group, 2,325,495 are fully vaccinated — about 52.7% of the eligible 16 and older population. On May 13, Minnesota opened Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 12. The state's vaccine dashboard has not yet been updated with numbers to include the expanded age group.

RELATED: Vax Facts: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 57,515 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 52,654 cases and seven deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,329 out of 6,709 diagnosed cases.

Saturday, May 15 

New COVID-19 cases in Minnesota dipped back below 1,000 Saturday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported. It's the fourth non-consecutive day this week with daily cases below 1,000. 

MDH reported 882 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and 3 additional deaths. The total number of fatalities in Minnesota is 7,286. 

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. 

Saturday's new case total includes 729 confirmed cases and 153 probable cases.

RELATED: What are the different types of coronavirus tests?

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 593,622, with 41,904 of those as antigen test results.

As for the state's vaccination effort, MDH says 2,707,414 people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 61.3% of Minnesota's eligible 16 and older population. Of that group, 2,294,000 are fully vaccinated — about 52.0% of the eligible 16 and older population. 

On May 13, Minnesota opened Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 12. The state's vaccine dashboard has not yet been updated with numbers to include the expanded age group.

To date, 31,386 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 6,391 of them needing care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 576,890 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate. 

RELATED: Vax Facts: What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

Of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 57,451 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 52,590 cases and seven deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,329 out of 6,708 diagnosed cases.

Friday, May 14

2 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) held a media briefing Friday afternoon, shortly after Gov. Tim Walz lifted the state's mask mandate based on new guidance from the CDC.

During the briefing, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said this decision was a sign of the progress made in vaccinations across the country, and a "strong endorsement" of the effectiveness of the vaccine.

"This is a sign of progress we've made, while also still recognizing the need for caution given that more Minnesotans are not yet vaccinated," she said. 

She added that people who are not vaccinated should continue to practice masking in public spaces, and should look to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann stressed that there will still be communities, businesses and settings that require masks, including public transportation and public health care spaces. 

"It's really important that these requirements are respected and followed," she said.

RELATED: Gov. Tim Walz signs order ending Minnesota mask mandate

Ehresmann also addressed concerns about children who may be exposed to unmasked crowds before they are eligible to be vaccinated. She said those concerns are exactly the reason people should consider continuing to wear a mask in public spaces.

"We want to make sure that we're taking the mitigation steps that are necessary to protect the people around us," she said. "That means if you're not vaccinated wearing a mask, or even if you are vaccinated, if you wear a mask, that's not a wrong thing. When in doubt, wearing a mask is just fine. We want to make sure all members of our community can feel comfortable, and sometimes wearing a mask helps to achieve that."

Malcolm also emphasized on Friday that the mask requirement for Minnesota schools is still in place through the end of the school year.

Malcolm acknowledged that lifting the mask mandate could lead to an increase in cases, though she said that may be mitigated by more activities being held outside and more people being vaccinated.

"We're hoping those favorable trends are more powerful than the added risk that we know exists when added interaction happens," Malcolm said.

RELATED: End of mask mandate in MN has some celebrating, while others remain cautious

Ehresmann added that she hopes people will not assume that this means the pandemic is over. She said the U.S. is in a new phase with this new guidance from the CDC, but that Minnesotans should continue to make choices to protect themselves and their communities. 

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, COVID-19 vaccine equity director for MDH and Medicaid medical director for DHS, also joined the briefing call to highlight the state's new partnership with private health plans. 

The partnership hopes to reach Minnesotans who live in ZIP codes with high social vulnerability index (SVI) scores and have not been vaccinated against COVID. According to a press release from MDH, the health plans "will work with the state to contact members and provide information on vaccination, assist with scheduling appointments and help plan for their vaccination, including arranging transportation or other services, if needed."

"This partnership is a recognition that we need to continue to go the extra mile and rebuild trust with communities we serve and help mitigate further inequities in access," Dr. Chomilo said.

Health plans participating in the partnership, which begins next week, include: 

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Hennepin Health
  • Itasca Medical Care
  • Medica
  • PreferredOne
  • PrimeWest Health
  • South Country Health Alliance
  • UCare

Dr. Chomilo said that he hopes this new effort will help address the racial disparities in vaccination progress in Minnesota, so that communities of color will not be made even more vulnerable with the mask mandate lifted.

11 a.m.

New cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota remain over the 1,000 mark, but are significantly lower than they were just a few weeks ago, according to numbers released Friday by state health officials. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recorded 1,306 new infections based on results from 36,823 tests (28,965 PCR, 7,858 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health experts consider a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case. 

Those new cases brings Minnesota's total up to 592,750 since the pandemic arrived in the state, with 41,753 of those cases based on antigen tests. 

Daily COVID cases have not been above the 2,000 mark since April 23 and 24. State officials had expressed a concern over a spike in cases, and the presence of additional strains of the virus. 

Nine more people have died from COVID, bringing state fatalities to 7,283. 

Credit: KARE

Daily hospitalizations continue their slow but steady drop, with 464 people being treated on an inpatient basis across the state Thursday. Of those patients 123 are showing symptoms serious enough to require treatment in ICU. 

Total hospitalizations from the pandemic are up to 31,315. MDH says 575,133 people who tested positive for the virus have improved to the point they no longer require isolation. 

The state vaccine dashboard reveals the extent to which Minnesota's vaccination effort has slowed. About halfway through May 358,225 vaccine doses have been administered, less than one quarter of the 1,583,323 that went into arms in April. 

Credit: KARE

At this point the numbers don't reflect doses being given to those ages 12 to 15, just cleared earlier this week by a CDC panel to be vaccinated. As of Wednesday 2,260,019 people ages 16 and older had completed their COVID series and were considered completely vaccinated (51.2%) while 2,694,297 have received at least one immunization (61.1%). 

Credit: KARE

Gov. Tim Walz had previously said Minnesota's statewide mask mandate would be dropped once the percentage of eligible residents to receive at least one dose hit 70%, but he is now expected to drop the mandate Friday after the CDC loosened masking guidelines the day before. 

Thursday, May 13

11 a.m.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm are visiting the community vaccination clinic at St. Paul RiverCentre to emphasize how easy it is to get a walk-up COVID-19 immunization without an appointment. 

State health officials have taken steps like opening all nine state-run community sites to remove barriers for Minnesotans who are either hesitant to get vaccinated, or who may just consider the process an inconvenience. 

"Folks are busy, folks have things to do, they don't want to and it's many times hard to either get themselves or their children in for appointments," Walz said on Thursday.

Walz said those sites are offering walk-up vaccines to 12- to 15-year-olds, now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use in that age group.

The numbers of statewide vaccinations have slowed in recent days, as those who were anxious to protect themselves against COVID-19 have completed their shot series and are considered fully vaccinated.

Walz said he's still confident Minnesota will beat President Joe Biden's goal of 70% of adults 18 and up getting at least one shot by July 4.

"We've got this thing, we're very close, we've got to push going on to the end," Walz said.

MDH says 2,685,779 people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's about 60.9% of Minnesota's 16 and older population. Of that group, 2,229,027 are fully vaccinated — about 50.5% of the same population.

Just over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, along with 19 deaths. More details about the new numbers released Thursday are available here.

Walz said Thursday that vaccination efforts have "blunted" the latest surge of COVID in the state.