ST PAUL, Minn. — Tuesday, May 4
- 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
- White House: 100 million Americans now fully vaccinated against COVID
- Guidelines relaxed for wearing masks outdoors
- COVID-19 vaccination appointments now available directly through Vaccine Connector
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) held a briefing about the state's COVID-19 situation. You can listen to the full briefing below.
Meanwhile, Gov. Walz has announced he plans to give a timeline for loosening restrictions on Thursday.
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).
Monday, May 3
The state of Minnesota is nearing a significant milestone in the battle against COVID-19, as the number of people considered completely vaccinated will almost certainly hit the two million mark this week.
As of Saturday 1,984,517 people have completed their vaccine series, 45% of those currently eligible to receive vaccine. Based on the daily vaccination numbers posted on the state dashboard, the milestone of two million completely vaccinated should be recorded in the next couple of days. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says 2,585,053 people have received at least one immunization (58.6% of those eligible).
New COVID infections are down, with MDH reporting 1,105 new cases based on 20,527 tests (16,016 PCR, 4,511 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Testing volume and case numbers tend to be lower on Mondays and Tuesdays, as those reports reflect weekend activity.
Minnesota now has recorded 580,340 COVID cases since the start of the pandemic, with 39,542 of those based on antigen tests. Health officials consider a positive antigen test a probable COVID case, while a PCR test is considered confirmed. Young adults ages 20 to 24 account for the most cases in one age group, with 56,368 and four fatalities.
Hospitalizations continue to trend down as well, with 576 people being treated on an inpatient basis as of Sunday, 155 of those in ICU. Total hospitalizations are now up to 30,370 since the virus arrived in Minnesota.
MDH says 559,036 people who at one time tested positive for COVID have improved to the point they no longer require isolation.
Three more people have died of COVID, bringing total fatalities in the state to 7,163. The virus has had the most deadly impact on those ages 85 to 89, with 1,320 deaths in just 6,661 diagnosed cases.
The state's four most populous counties have recorded the most COVID activity. Hennepin County has documented 120,414 cases and 1,707 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 50,136 cases and 864 deaths, Dakota County with 44,828 cases and 439 deaths, and Anoka County with 40,609 cases and 432 fatalities.
Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has seen the least COVID activity, with 155 positive cases and zero deaths.