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COVID In Minnesota: 50 More Deaths, 1,500 New Cases Reported As Vaccine Push Continues

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesota progresses with its effort to inoculate frontline health care workers and those in long-term care facilities against COVID-19, health officials reported Wednesday 1,504 more cases of the virus and 50 more deaths.

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health brings the cumulative infection count to 440,354 and the death toll to 5,774. Of the most recent fatalities, 33 were residents in long-term care, the demographic that’s suffered more than 60% of the state’s coronavirus deaths.

According to the state’s newly debuted Vaccine Data Dashboard, 144,503 people in Minnesota have received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Some 7,392 people, about .1% of the state’s population, have gotten their second dose in the vaccine series.

Minnesota has received about 487,000 doses, mostly of the Pfizer vaccine, since the pandemic began. About 384,000 doses have gone to Minnesota providers, such as hospitals, pharmacies and public health clinics. About 103,000 doses have gone to long-term care facilities.

RELATED: State Releases New, Enriched Vaccine Data Dashboard

Frontline health care workers and those in long-term care are the top priority group to receive the vaccine. Minnesotans in those groups are expected to be inoculated by the end of the month. The general public is not expected to get the vaccine for months.

Hospitalizations in Minnesota are continuing a slow decline from record highs reached in November, when Gov. Tim Walz tightened the state’s COVID-19 restrictions. As of Tuesday, 665 people were hospitalized with the virus, with 129 patients in intensive care beds.

The tightened restrictions lasted through the holidays, with some establishments pushing back against the governor’s executive order, opening despite threats of legal action from the state. Earlier this week, the restrictions loosened, with bars and restaurants allowed to serve customers indoors, youth sports games resuming, and museums and movie theaters reopening their doors.

In the last 24 hours, 23,956 COVID-19 tests were processed in Minnesota. Late last month, the state’s seven-day average positivity rate dipped below the 5% “caution” threshold for the first time since mid-September. However, it quickly bounced back to 7.4% as of last week.

Since the start of the outbreak, 3.1 million people in Minnesota have been tested for the virus, with more than 6 million tests being processed in total. Of those who tested positive, nearly 420,000 have recovered from the coronavirus and no longer need to self-isolate.

Source: CBS Minnesota

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