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Live updates: Minnesota's new COVID-19 deaths, cases lowest since September

Here are the latest developments with COVID-19 spread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, vaccine distribution, restrictions, and the return to schools for some students.

MINNESOTA, USA — Monday, Feb. 1     

  • More than 35,000 COVID vaccine doses, 100+ more vaccination sites made available for Minnesota seniors
  • MDH to hold media call at noon
  • Minnesota expert urges US government to focus on first doses to reduce impact of COVID-19
  • MDH: More than 400,000 Minnesotans with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Numerous seniors receive vaccine appointment cancellation message in error over weekend
  • Pandemic blamed for 62% reduction in 2020 passenger traffic at MSP Airport


Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm said on a regular briefing call Monday that the state is seeing several positive COVID-19 trends.

“We continue to see encouraging trends in the rate of growth in our cases declining week over week,” Malcolm said. She said health officials are “pleased” that the seven-day average test positivity rate remains just under 5%.

She said she would like to see testing volumes come back up to where they were in the fall, so that MDH could get a better picture of case growth.

MDH did note recent outbreaks in bars, restaurants and youth hockey programs. The state's infectious disease director said kids should keep wearing masks. 

"That is intended to reduce the opportunity for transmission and that is something we're anticipating will be necessary to keep moving forward with youth sports that everyone is excited about," said Kris Ehresmann.

Ehresmann also reiterated the vaccines are safe. The CDC has several monitoring sources, including VAERS, which stands for the vaccine adverse event reporting system that tracks any unusual patterns. 

"If what we refer to as a signal was detected and there was some problem, there would be instant notification around the country about that and there would be recommendations to stop or modify the vaccination," said Ehresmann. "We have not heard anything like that." 

The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in history. Some people have reported mild side effects and in rare cases, severe allergic reaction. 

HealthPartners' Dr. Mark Sannes said the claim vaccines are linked to the death of elderly people, particularly in Norway, aren't true.

"We know people die from various reasons on any given day and some of those are going to line up such that they die after they get vaccinated," explained Dr. Sannes. "All of the clinical trials and all of the post surveillance from the trials suggest these are safe vaccines."

You can watch the entire MDH briefing on KARE 11's YouTube channel.

11 a.m.

Both new COVID-19 cases and newly reported deaths dipped considerably Monday, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

MDH reported 727 new cases, and said two more people have died due to the virus. While newly reported COVID-19 numbers are often lower at the start of the week, Monday's death total is the lowest since Sept. 20. Monday's total number of newly reported cases is the lowest since Sept. 30.

Total coronavirus fatalities in Minnesota since the pandemic began now sit at 6,202. Of those deaths 3,930, or 63%, are tied to long-term care or assisted living settings. 

Credit: KARE
COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota as of Feb. 1.

Also Monday, the Walz administration announced Minnesotans age 65 and up will have greater access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov. Walz said 35,000 doses will be made available for seniors at more than 100 sites. 

MDH said it will hold a media call about the state's COVID-19 situation at noon. KARE 11 will stream that call live on KARE11.com and on the KARE 11 YouTube page.

MDH said the 727 new cases were based on 21,432 tests (19,579 PCR, 1,853 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. 

Minnesota's total positive cases have reached 462,528, with 20,138 of those based on antigen tests. 

Credit: KARE
COVID-19 cases reported in Minnesota as of Feb. 1.

In terms of the state's vaccination effort, 441,922 people have received at least one dose and 116,248 have received both doses, as of Jan. 30.

MDH says health providers have administered 90% of the vaccine they've received within seven days time. That does not include second doses that cannot be administered due to a patient's mandatory wait time. 

MDH data shows the number of hospital beds being used to treat COVID patients continues to drop slowly, with 295 being used statewide as of Sunday (92 beds in ICU). Bed availability has risen slightly at hospitals in the Twin Cities metro, with 4.7% of non-ICU beds available, and ICU bed availability at 9%. 

Total hospitalizations have climbed to 24,352 since the pandemic began, with ICU patients now exceeding the 5,000 mark (5,045).

Of those Minnesotans who have been diagnosed with COVID at one time, 447,420 have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

The largest COVID-19 case grouping involves young adults ages 20 to 24, with 46,511 cases and three deaths, followed by those 25 to 29 with 41,583 cases and six deaths. People between 85 and 89 make up the largest group of fatalities with 1,184 deaths in 6,052 diagnosed cases. 

Hennepin County has recorded the most COVID activity in the state with 95,963 cases and 1,530 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 41,282 cases and 765 deaths, Dakota County with 34,232 cases and 364 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,818 cases and 372 fatalities. 

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota remains quiet on the COVID front, with just 117 diagnosed cases and zero deaths.

Sunday, Jan. 31

2 p.m.

A day after passing 100,000 Minnesotans with at both COVID-19 vaccine doses, the state has reached another milestone: more than 400,000 with at least one dose. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health's latest data (current as of Jan. 29), a total of 418,299 people in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Almost 112,000 have received the full series of two doses. MDH also reported that 14,729 doss were administered at the nine pilot sites across the state from Thursday through Saturday.

You can view Minnesota's vaccine dashboard here. 

Meanwhile, the state's new COVID-19 case totals dipped to 996 for the past day. MDH reported 13 new deaths, a slight decrease from the day before. 

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 846 confirmed cases and 150 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 461,807, with 20,029 of those as antigen test results. 

MDH says 13 new deaths from the virus were reported. That pushes the total number of fatalities in Minnesota to 6,200.

To date, 24,308 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 5,040 of them needing care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 446,137 people once diagnosed with the virus have passed the point where they are required to isolate.

Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 46,455 cases and three deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 41,535 cases and six deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,184 out of 6,045 diagnosed cases.

In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 100,751 cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 93,625 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.

A total of 38,071 cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting,
7,854 were in a corrections setting, and 983 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 18,131 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.

MDH says 31,319 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 14,155 diagnosed COVID-19 cases. The source of transmission for 156,918 cases is still unknown or missing.

MDH has prioritized testing for people in congregate care, hospitalized patients and health care workers, which may impact the scale of those numbers. However, now MDH is urging anyone who is symptomatic or even asymptomatic to be tested. Testing locations can be found online.

Hennepin County has had the most COVID activity in the state with 95,801 cases and 1,529 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 41,201 cases and 764 deaths, Dakota County with 34,166 cases and 364 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,777 cases and 372 deaths.

Full data, including a breakdown of PCR and antigen test totals in some categories, can be found on MDH's website.

The Minnesota Department of Health has said repeatedly that the number of lab-confirmed cases is only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the true number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal at mn.gov/covid19.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services (WDHS) reported 1,007 new cases Sunday, bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 542,415.

Health officials reported three new deaths on Sunday as the total number of fatalities rose to 5,896, approximately 1.1% of those who are infected with the virus.

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate voted to repeal Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide mask mandate, which took effect in August and is slated to run until March 20. Both legislative chambers have to pass the resolution in order to undo the mask requirement. The Assembly, controlled 58-30 by Republicans, scheduled it for a vote Thursday but called that vote off after it was revealed that the state would lose nearly $50 million in federal funding to feed the hungry.

Wisconsin health officials say a total of 24,298 people have been hospitalized from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, about 4.5% of the total number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus.  

Of the confirmed cases in Wisconsin, 18.9% involve people between the ages of 20 to 29, 15.6% are between 30 and 39, 15.2% are between 50 and 59, and 14.2% are 40 to 49. An estimated 11.4% are between 10 and 19, and 10.9% are between 60 and 69.

As of Sunday, Milwaukee County reported the largest number of confirmed cases with 94,946, along with 1,136 deaths. Waukesha County has reported 39,050 confirmed cases and 446 deaths, Dane County has reported 37,949 confirmed cases and 251 deaths, and Brown County has reported 29,324 cases and 197 deaths.

Saturday, Jan. 30

2 p.m.

Minnesota is ending January with a new milestone: more than 100,000 people in the state have completed their series of COVID-19 vaccine doses. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health's latest data, a total of 105,361 people have received both doses. A total of 381,204 have received at least one dose. As there is a several-day delay in releasing vaccination numbers, these totals are from Jan. 28, but were reported Saturday morning. 

You can view Minnesota's vaccine dashboard here.

Also on Saturday, state officials said thousands of Minnesotans received a message stating that their COVID-19 appointments were canceled. According to MDH, those who received the message in error were notified that their appointments were still scheduled. 

The software vendor that runs Minnesota's online vaccination scheduling program released a statement apologizing for the error, adding that it took full responsibility.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccine cancellation messages incorrectly sent to Minnesota seniors

As for other COVID-19 updates, MDH reported 1,087 new cases and 19 new deaths on Saturday.

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.  

The new case total includes 933 confirmed cases and 154 probable cases.

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 460,819, with 19,880 of those as antigen test results. 

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage,and kare11.com/vaccine for answers to all of your questions about vaccines. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.

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