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COVID-19 update: Vaccination pace wobbles; pandemic picture improves

Even as Minnesota’s COVID-19 picture continues to brighten, the pace of vaccinations continues to frustrate.

After a late January surge, Minnesota slipped last week, with fewer vaccinations reported than the previous week. The trend appears to be continuing — Monday’s vaccination numbers came in far lower than the prior Monday.

Minnesota averaged about 24,000 daily doses administered over the past seven days, down from nearly 32,000 a day a week ago. About 10.1 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose as of Saturday, with about 2.8 percent completely vaccinated.

The state on Monday ranked 14th among states in doses administered per 100,000 people, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hoping to speed the process, the Health Department has opened mass vaccination sites in the Twin Cities and Duluth. Another will open this week in Rochester. Officials, though, say the challenge remains getting the federal government to supply the state with more vaccines.

On the upside, Walmart and Thrifty White pharmacies will be administering about 16,000 doses of the vaccine this week for Minnesotans 65 and older at locations across Minnesota. Those doses are part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Gov. Tim Walz also said he is reallocating 8,000 doses for Walgreens to vaccinate Minnesotans 65 and older at 40 locations. Information on scheduling appointments at Walmart, Thrifty White and Walgreens will be posted through the state’s online vaccine finder.

 

South-central Minnesota update

Freeborn County reported seven new lab-confirmed cases on Tuesday, increasing its cumulative cases to 2,688. Of the total, 73 are considered active cases.

One new hospitalization was reported Tuesday; no new deaths were reported.

The new cases included three people in their 50s and two in their 60s. The other two were in their 30s and 40s.

The following is an update on other area counties:

  • Faribault County: three new cases; 1,150 total cases
  • Mower County: five new cases; 3,912 total cases
  • Steele County: six new cases; 2,916 total cases
  • Waseca County: one new cases; 2,001 total cases

Minnesota reported six more deaths — none in south-central Minnesota — caused by COVID-19 Tuesday, along with 586 new cases.