ST PAUL, Minn. — Tuesday, Feb. 16
- Delays expected in Minnesota vaccine delivery, appointments due to inclement weather in southern US
- Cases drop below 500 on low testing volume, another day of single-digit deaths
- Walz expands capacity limits in restaurants, entertainment spaces, gyms, pools and private events, and allows restaurants and bars to remain open until 11 p.m.
Minnesota health officials held a briefing call to share updates on the state's COVID-19 situation. You can listen below.
On the call, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the state is seeing "encouraging" signs of progress in long-term care homes. She said just 15 cases were reported in nursing homes in the last week's data -- the lowest number since March.
Officials also addressed the COVID-19 variants circulating in Minnesota. Infectious Disease director Kris Ehresmann said the state is seeing a concerning uptick in cases of the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom. She urged Minnesotans to keep following mitigation measures like masking and social distancing.
Ehresmann said so far, Minnesota has detected 40 cases of the U.K. variant and 2 cases of another variant first discovered in Brazil. She said the variants are more transmissible and may cause more severe illness.
Officials also said Minnesota will experience delayed shipments of COVID-19 vaccines due to inclement weather in the southern United States. They said to expect potential delays, cancellations or other disturbances due to the situation.
St. Louis County was the first to issue a press release on the expected vaccine delivery problems. The county's health department said it has canceled three vaccination clinics scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The cancellation affects several hundred people who had been scheduled to receive their first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
The county said those whose appointments are affected will receive a cancellation notice via email. When vaccine supplies are available again, they will receive a follow-up email for rescheduling.
New reported cases of COVID-19 continue to drop, according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Tuesday, as vaccination efforts continue to ramp up across the state.
MDH recorded 456 positive coronavirus cases in the last day, the lowest number since 432 were documented on September 15. Those cases are based on results from just 9,333 tests (7,960 PCR, 1,373 antigen) processed in private and state labs, an extremely low volume. MDH spokesman Doug Schultz confirms that testing volume reported on Tuesdays is generally the lowest of the week, as those numbers are based on tests performed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Two people have died from the virus in the past day, bringing Minnesota fatalities to 6,380. Of those deaths 4,016, or 63% of them, are tied to assisted living or long-term care facilities.
The state vaccine dashboard says, as of Sunday, just over 12% of Minnesota's 5.6 million residents have received at least one dose. That's 686,210 people, with 240,027 of those having completed the two-shot COVID series.
People age 65 and over make up 307,423 of those who have been given at least one dose, with 238,934 of those between 18 and 49 also receiving vaccinations. The majority of that age demographic are healthcare professionals, first responders and front line workers.
Providers have hit the goal set by Governor Tim Walz in a recent directive, administering 90 percent of the vaccine supply they receive within three days time.
The number of Minnesotans hospitalized for COVID-19 since the pandemic began has climbed to 25,243, with 5,206 of those patients requiring ICU care. State health officials say 461,406 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.
Young adults between 20 and 24 years old make up the largest group of the state's COVID cases with 47,450 and three deaths. The virus has been deadliest for people between 85 and 89, claiming 1,208 lives in just 6,177 diagnosed cases.
Hennepin County health officials have recorded the largest volume of COVID activity with 98,486 cases and 1,569 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 42,257 cases and 788 deaths, Dakota County with 35,227 cases and 378 deaths, and Anoka County with 32,638 cases and 380 deaths.
Cook County in northeastern Minnesota has seen the fewest confirmed cases with 118, followed by Lake of the Woods County with 212.
Monday, Feb. 15
The number of Minnesotans at least partially protected against COVID-19 continues to grow, according to the latest numbers released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Data shared on the state vaccine dashboard says as of Saturday, 675,329 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of vaccine, and of that number 238,104 have completed the two-shot sequence. Vaccination numbers are expected to steadily grow, with pharmacies like Walmart and Thrifty White now receiving supplies of the vaccine.
Providers have nearly achieved the goal of administering 90% of the doses they receive within a three day period, a challenge set out in a directive by Gov. Tim Walz. Of those being vaccinated, 300,430 are age 65 and over, and 236,599 are between 18 and 49. People in that group are largely health care providers, front line workers and first responders.
Currently about 12% of Minnesota residents have received at least one dose of vaccine.
MDH reported 611 new cases of the virus in the past day, based on 18,165 tests (17,366 PCR, 799 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 has now recorded 474,169 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic arrived in the state, 21,861 which are linked to antigen tests.
Two additional deaths are linked to COVID-19, bringing the total of state fatalities to 6,378. Of those deaths 4,016, or 63% of them, are associated with long-term care or assisted living facilities.
Total hospitalizations from coronavirus have risen to 25,197, with 5,197 of those patients requiring ICU care.
Young adults ages 20 to 24 represent more COVID cases than any other age group, with 47,414. Only three people from that demographic have lost their lives to the virus. People ages 85 to 89 represent more fatalities than any other group, with 1,208 in 6,174 diagnosed cases.
Hennepin County has experienced more COVID activity than any other county in the state, with 98,398 cases and 1,569 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 42,221 cases and 787 deaths, Dakota County with 35,179 cases and 378 deaths, and Anoka County with 32,597 cases and 379 fatalities.
Cook County has the least COVID activity, with 118 diagnosed cases and no fatalities since the pandemic's onset.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.