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Live updates: Minnesota COVID deaths back into double digits, vaccination numbers slow

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. — Tuesday, May 18    

  • COVID deaths jump to 14 from zero reported Monday
  • Target, Hy-Vee and Home Depot end mask mandate for fully vaccinated customers, employees
  • Cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul keep mask ordinances in place for now
  • Kids in school will still be required to wear masks through the end of the academic year

New COVID case numbers are low, but data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows deaths jumping from zero yesterday back into double-digits. 

MDH recorded 14 additional fatalities from the virus in the past day, bringing total deaths to 7,310. Of those deaths 4,390 (60%) are linked to assisted living or long-term care settings. People between 85 and 89 have the most COVID-related deaths of any age group with 1,330 in just 6,716 diagnosed cases. 

State health officials say 519 new infections were reported, bringing Minnesota's case total to 595,532 since the beginning of the pandemic. The new cases are based on 10,578 tests (9,255 PCR, 1,323 antigen) processed in private and state labs. That is a low testing volume, which is usually the case on Tuesdays as the numbers reflect weekend activity. 

Credit: KARE

The state's four most populous counties are reporting the most COVID activity: Hennepin County has documented 123,162 cases and 1,735 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 51,644 cases and 876 deaths, Dakota County with 46,114 cases and 454 deaths, and Anoka County with 49,148 cases and 441 deaths. 

Hospitalizations due to COVID remain fairly steady, with 440 people being treated for the virus on an inpatient basis as of Monday. Of those patients 112 show symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. In the Twin Cities system 2.3% of non-ICU hospital beds are available, with vacant ICU beds currently at 5.3%.

Credit: KARE

Total hospitalizations are now up to 31,520. MDH says 580,838 people who once tested positive for COVID have improved to the point they no longer need to be isolated. 

As of Sunday the number of eligible people considered fully vaccinated was listed at 2,349,214 (53.3%), while 2,739,423 people have received at least one dose (61.7% of those 16 and older). MDH has not yet shared data on the number of Minnesotans ages 12 through 15 who have been immunized. 

Credit: KARE

The Walz administration and health officials have been trying to make it easier for Minnesotans who haven't received vaccine to do so by implementing walk-in immunizations at state-sponsored community clinics and using mobile vaccination units, but daily numbers continue to drop. 

Monday, May 17    

11 a.m. 

Data released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflects a number worth noting: a day when zero deaths from COVID-19 were recorded. 

With no one succumbing to the virus in the past day, total fatalities in the state remain at 7,296 since the onset of the pandemic. Of those deaths 4,390, or 60% of those deaths are associated with long-term care or assisted living settings. The virus has hit Minnesotans between the ages of 85 and 89 the hardest, with 1,329 deaths in 6,714 cases. 

The last day of zero reported deaths was a week ago on May 10. 

Credit: KARE

MDH is reporting 589 new COVID infections base on results from 17,616 tests (14,285 PCR, 3,331 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. Young adults between 20 and 24 account for the largest number of cases among any age group, with 57,576 and four fatalities.

Credit: KARE

Hospitalizations continue to trend down, with 423 people across Minnesota being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis as of Sunday. Of those people 108 are being treated in ICU. In total, 31,398 people have been hospitalized with coronavirus since the pandemic arrived in Minnesota. State health officials say 579,606 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have improved enough they no longer need to isolate. 

Credit: KARE

Minnesota is nearing another vaccination milestone of five million total doses of vaccine administered. As of Saturday 4,870,838 doses have gone into the arms of state residents, making it likely Minnesota will reach 5 million sometime late this week or early next week. MDH says 2,732,819 people have received at least one vaccination (61.6% of those currently eligible), and of those people 2,340,582 (53.1%) have completed their COVID series and are considered fully immunized.

Credit: KARE

The state vaccine dashboard does not currently have numbers for children ages 12-15, who began getting immunized last Thursday after a CDC panel recommended they receive vaccine.

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