Covid-19 update: Pandemic picture solid; uptick in vaccination trend

Published 1:54 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2021

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Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers continue to show pandemic conditions improving, although the vaccination pace is still struggling to rebound.

Key trend lines around the disease remain angled in the right direction. The Health Department on Tuesday reported 456 newly confirmed or probable cases while known, active cases slipped below 7,000. Both figures fell to their lowest levels since late September.

The seven-day hospital admissions trend for people with COVID-19 has also receded to late September levels. There were 315 people with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals as of Monday, with 57 needing intensive care. ICU cases are at their lowest point since the spring.

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The overall vaccination pace is still trying to regain traction after falling and then flattening following a late January surge. While the overall trend line ticked up, the state on Tuesday reported about 12,400 new vaccinations — significantly below daily counts over the past week.

About 12.3 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose as of Sunday, with about 4.3 percent completely vaccinated. About 36 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older have received at least one shot.

Officials have been emphasizing over the past weeks that the relatively low flow of vaccine supplies from the federal government is the main problem holding back the pace of vaccinations. There’s data to back that up.

As of Sunday, though, the state was ranked 24th among states in doses administered per 100,000 people, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current rate, it would take until September to vaccinate 80 percent of the state’s adults.

Hoping to speed the effort, the Health Department has opened mass vaccination sites in the Twin Cities, Rochester and Duluth and posted information on its online vaccine finder.

Tuesday did mark the first time the state hit its goal of administering 90 percent of available vaccines within three days of reaching providers.

Two reported deaths on Tuesday raised Minnesota’s toll to 6,380. 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 474,621 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic. 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 health officials continue to monitor new virus strains circulating in the United States, which may be more contagious. Officials have warned that they could lead to an increase in cases.

South-central Minnesota

Freeborn County reported just one new lab-confirmed case on Tuesday, increasing its cumulative cases to 2,722. Of the total, 42 are considered active cases.

There were no new hospitalizations and no new deaths Tuesday. The county’s death total from the pandemic stands at 23.

The new case was a person in their 40s.

The following is an update on other area counties:

  • Faribault County: three new cases; 1,185 total cases
  • Mower County: eight new cases; 3,950 total cases
  • Steele County: three new cases; 2,949 total cases
  • Waseca County: four new cases; 2,039 total cases