Daily COVID-19 update: 18 new deaths, Minnesota waits for restriction rollbacks
Minnesota reported 18 more deaths caused by COVID-19 Tuesday, along with 1,612 new cases, showing slowing trends ahead of an announcement from Gov. Tim Walz that he’ll loosen restrictions on bars and restaurants.
The 18 additional deaths make it the second straight day with a toll of fewer than 20. That hasn’t happened since before Election Day.
At the same time, the state reported only 2,455 new vaccinations, putting the total at 80,857, and keeping vaccinations well behind the number of doses available across the state.
The latest numbers come as Walz plans to announce a rollback of restrictions for indoor dining this week, his office said Monday evening. Minnesota’s current COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on indoor dining, run through late Sunday.
“Many of them are ready to put in mitigation efforts. But I think this idea that everybody is going to go back in maskless and pack these places, that’s not the way it’s going to look,” the governor said.
He said coronavirus test positivity rates are lower than they were when the restrictions were imposed, and hospitals aren’t under as much strain. Walz said he personally would feel comfortable eating at a restaurant once indoor table service resumes.
Walz is expected to announce his next steps during a live address at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The announcement comes as Minnesota health officials say the state expects to receive enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate all its health care workers and most nursing-home residents by the end of January.
While enough vaccines are available for a first shot for all health care workers designated for phase 1A, which covers health care professionals, long-term care residents and others most likely to encounter the coronavirus, Ehresmann said it would take through the month of January to complete the first round.
Case numbers have been mostly stable, although Monday marks a notable upturn. That said, state data show unusual deviations in other areas, like the percent of positive tests. That’s often a sign of data anomalies that can be linked to holiday reporting schedules.
New hospital admissions jumped to 157, slightly over the seven day average for new hospitalizations of 122.
Caseloads spread across age groups
People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 80,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 42,000 among people ages 20 to 24.
The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 32,000 total cases among those ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.
Although less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.
It’s of particular concern because people can have the coronavirus and spread COVID-19 when they don’t have symptoms.
New cases ebb across Minnesota
Central and western Minnesota drove much of the increase in new cases over the past two months, while Hennepin and Ramsey counties showed some of the slowest case growth in the state.
Cases continue to fall statewide, with most regions dipping down to levels before the state’s COVID-19 surge that hit in November and early December.
Hot spots continue to pop up in rural counties relative to their population.
Caseloads still heaviest among people of color
In Minnesota and across the country, COVID-19 has hit communities of color disproportionately hard in both cases and deaths. That’s been especially true for Minnesotans of Hispanic descent for much of the pandemic.
Even as new case counts ease from their peak a few weeks ago, the data shows people of color continue to be hit hardest.
Distrust of the government, together with deeply rooted health and economic disparities, have hampered efforts to boost testing among communities of color, officials say, especially among unauthorized immigrants who fear their personal information may be used to deport them.
Similar trends have been seen among Minnesota’s Indigenous residents. Counts among Indigenous people jumped in October relative to population.
South-central Minnesota update
After reporting 46 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, Freeborn Count reported 18 new cases on Tuesday, increasing the county’s cumulative case count to 2,094. Of that number, 162 are considered active cases.
Four new people were reported hospitalized since Monday, increasing the total people who have been hospitalized at some point during their illness to 103.
The new cases included the following:
• One person between 0 and 4
• One person between 5 and 9
• Two people between 15 and 19
• Two people in their 20s
• Three people in their 30s
• Three people in their 40s
• Five people in their 50s
• One person in their 70s
The following are updates on other area counties:
• Faribault County: five new lab-confirmed cases; 954 total cases
• Mower County: 14 new lab-confirmed cases; 3,392 total cases
• Steele County: five new lab-confirmed cases; 2,551 total cases
• Waseca County: 10 new lab-confirmed cases; 1,806 total cases
Minnesota COVID-19 cases, deaths
|County||Total confirmed cases||Total probable cases||Total cases||Total deaths|
|Lac qui Parle||577||47||624||15|
|Lake of the Woods||152||5||157||1|