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COVID-19 update: Minnesota trends look hopeful

Minnesota’s COVID-19 data continues to show the state mostly trending in a hopeful way, especially on hospitalizations. The pace of vaccination, though, remains frustrating with trend lines flattening.

After an early-week stumble, vaccination counts in the latest data rebounded, but they aren’t yet matching levels from last week, suggesting that last week’s vigorous pace may have been the exception.

Friday’s Health Department report showed disease trends angling in the right direction despite an uptick in active caseloads. Known, active cases stand at 9,027, similar to early October levels and still down significantly from around 50,000 in late November.

Counts also continue to look good on hospitalizations — 362 Minnesotans were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Thursday, with 82 needing intensive care. ICU cases remain at levels not seen since September.

Twenty-two newly reported deaths Wednesday raised Minnesota’s toll to 6,273. Among those who’ve died, about 63 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

The state’s recorded 466,224 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,054 reported Friday. About 97 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

State officials continue to caution that the pandemic is not over yet, noting the new virus strains arriving in the United States, including two cases of the Brazilian strain and 16 of the U.K. variant in Minnesota.

They’re also trying to dissuade people from attending big Super Bowl gatherings this Sunday given the ongoing worries about spreading the virus.

South-central Minnesota

Freeborn County reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

Freeborn has had 2,664 total cases and 24 deaths.

The following are updates on other area counties:

  • Faribault County: 4 new lab-confirmed cases; 1,142 total cases.
  • Mower County: 19 new lab-confirmed cases; 3,887 total cases.
  • Steele County: 8 new lab-confirmed cases; 2,894 total cases.
  • Waseca County: 12 new lab-confirmed cases; 1,989 total cases.

Minnesota reported 22 more deaths – none in south-central Minnesota – caused by COVID-19 Wednesday, along with 1,054 new cases.