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Live updates: New COVID-19 cases dip below 300 in Minnesota

Here are the latest developments in the battle against COVID-19 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the effort to vaccinate every resident.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Sunday, May 30 

  • Minnesota reports 343 new COVID cases, 10 more deaths
  • 'Cheers for the Vaccine' campaign offers beer, cocktails for new vaccinations
  • Gov. Walz announces vaccine incentives in Minnesota
  • State Fairgrounds vaccination site begins Johnson & Johnson vaccinations; walk-in appointments available until June 8
  • Moderna says COVID vaccine is safe, effective for kids 12-17

After two days in a row below 400, Minnesota's newly-reported cases dipped below 300 Sunday. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 287 new COVID-19 cases Sunday and 8 additional deaths. The total number of fatalities in Minnesota is 7,434. 

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 238 confirmed cases and 49 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 601,384, with 43,372 of those as antigen test results. 

To date, 32,056 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 6,503 of them needing care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 590,178 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 more than 2.9 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, more than 2.5 million are fully vaccinated. 

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 58,102 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 53,229 cases and eight deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,339 out of 6,751 diagnosed cases.

Saturday, May 29

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 343 new COVID-19 cases Saturday and 10 additional deaths. 

Saturday is the second consecutive day with new COVID-19 cases below 400 in Minnesota, following a small spike Thursday when that number rose to 505. 

The total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began is now 601,105, with 43,323 of those as antigen test results.

To date, 32,051 Minnesotans have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic started, with 6,503 of them needing care in the ICU. The total number of fatalities in Minnesota is 7,418. 

MDH reports that 589,390 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 more than 2.9 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that group, more than 2.5 million are fully vaccinated. 

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 58,073 cases and four deaths, and ages 25-29 follow with 53,208 cases and eight deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group with 1,339 out of 6,750 diagnosed cases.

Meanwhile, new vaccine incentives have been announced in Minnesota. You can read about those below. 

Friday, May 28

One day after unveiling a list of incentives available for Minnesotans who decide to get immunized against COVID-19, Governor Tim Walz is mixing up another concept to bump up stagnating vaccination numbers. 

We're talking cocktails, folks. 

On Friday, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, Walz took the wraps off another program, one his administration has dubbed "Cheers to the Vaccine." Select brewers and distilleries across the state have agreed to provide free or discounted drinks starting May 28 and winding up June 30, for Minnesotans 21 and older who have received at least one COVID shot. 

The program is a partnership with the Craft Brewers Guild and Minnesota Distillers Guild. A number of brewers and distillers have also signed on to host pop-up clinics in the coming weeks. 

"Minnesota breweries are excited to get customers back in their taprooms, but they also want to continue to be safe," said Lauren McGinty, Executive Director of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild. "This program is a great way to promote safety and support local small businesses that have been hit especially hard during the pandemic."

 Here is a list of establishments that have signed on for the "Cheers to the Vaccine" campaign so far. 

Customers 21 and older must have proof of vaccination to receive a free or discounted drink at participating establishments.

11 a.m. 

Data released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflect the belief that new COVID cases in the state are continuing a downward trend. 

MDH says just 364 new infections were reported in the last day, based on results from 21,250 tests (18,751 PCR, 2,499 antigen) processed in private and state labs. The last time daily cases exceeded the 1,000 mark was on May 14 when 1,306 were reported, and they have been trending downward fairly steadily ever since. 

Minnesota's COVID case total since the pandemic began is now 600,767, with 43,273 of those cases associated with antigen tests. Medical experts consider a positive antigen test a probable COVID case, while a positive PCR test is considered confirmed. 

Credit: KARE

Young adults ages 20 to 24 have tested positive more than any other group, with 58,039 cases and four deaths, followed by those 25 to 29 with 53,180 cases and eight deaths. The virus has been deadliest for those ages 85 to 89, with 1,339 fatalities in just 6,746 cases. 

Minnesota's four most populous counties have also experienced the most COVID activity, with Hennepin County reporting 124,129 cases and 1,751 deaths, Ramsey County 52,149 cases and 887 deaths, Dakota County 46,516 cases and 462 deaths, and Anoka County 42,452 cases and 448 fatalities. 

Five more deaths from COVID were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing state fatalities to 7,408. Of those deaths 4,427 (60%) involve assisted living or long-term care facilities. 

Credit: KARE

Daily hospitalizations continue a downward trend with 316 people being treated for COVID on an inpatient basis as of Thursday,  of which 77 require ICU treatment. Total hospitalizations are up to 32,021 since the pandemic began. 

The state vaccine dashboard says as of Wednesday 64.2% of Minnesotans age 16 and older had received at least one vaccination (2,900,110 people) while 58.1% of those (2,562,690) had completed their COVID series and were considered fully immunized. 

Credit: KARE

A total of 5,240,827 doses have been administered, with 55% being Pfizer, 40.5% Moderna, and 4.5% Johnson & Johnson. 

Credit: KARE

RELATED: Gov. Walz unveils new vaccine incentive program

Thursday, May 27  

11 a.m.

The state of Minnesota has passed another dubious milestone in the battle against COVID-19, moving past the 600,000 case mark since the pandemic began. 

Data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows 505 new infections were reported in the last day, bringing total cases to 600,408. Of those cases 43,218 were identified by antigen tests. Health officials consider a positive antigen test a probable COVID case, while a positive PCR test is considered a confirmed case. 

The new cases are based on 26,012 tests (21,064 PCR, 4,948 antigen) processed in private and state labs. That is a moderate testing volume for late-week reporting. 

Credit: KARE

Ten more Minnesotans have lost their lives to COVID, pushing total fatalities over the 7,400 mark (7,403). Of those, 4,424 (60%) are linked to assisted living or long-term care settings.

Daily hospitalizations due to the virus continue to dip, with 334 people being treated for COVID in Minnesota hospitals as of Wednesday. MDH says just 80 of those patients are in ICU, the lowest level since 78 were reported on March 21. Total hospitalizations have climbed to nearly 32,000 since the pandemic began (31,992). 

MDH says 588,096 people who tested positive have improved to the point they no longer require isolation. 

Governor Walz will again attempt to jump-start vaccination numbers that are sputtering a bit, by introducing incentives for people to get immunized against COVID. He will detail the plan Thursday afternoon, but a spokesman says state fair tickets, fishing licenses and state park passes are among the incentives being dangled.

Credit: KARE

As of Tuesday (the most recent vaccine numbers available), nearly 58% of Minnesotans age 16+ have completed their COVID shot series and are considered fully vaccinated. That's 2,543,044 Minnesotans. The vaccine dashboard says 2,885,499 people have received at least one dose, 63.9% of those eligible. The Walz administration wants to get that number to 70% by July 1, to meet a goal set by President Joe Biden. 

Credit: KARE

In the Twin Cities metro, Hennepin and Ramsey County report more than 70% of age 16+ residents have been immunized at least once, with six others (Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott, Washington and Wright) reporting a rate of between 50 and 70%. Sherburne County is lagging with a vaccination rate of less than 50%.