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COVID-19 update: More than a quarter of Minnesotans have at least one vaccine dose

More than a quarter of Minnesota residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials announced Sunday.

That’s more than 1.4 million people. More than 15 percent of state residents have completed their vaccinations, whether that’s the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those encouraging milestones come as the overall vaccination pace has remained fairly flat. Averaged over the past week, the number of vaccinations each day in Minnesota ticked upward to about 41,137 as of Sunday’s update.

That average had reached a record high of more than 43,000 a week ago.

And the latest vaccination news also comes as newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota have trended upward in recent weeks. Minnesota saw 956 more cases reported in Sunday’s update — that’s fewer than were reported last Sunday, but average case counts each day remain near their highest point in two months.

State officials have said they believe COVID-19 variants are driving the recent case increases in Minnesota, and they’re urging people to stay vigilant — wearing masks and following physical distancing guidelines.

Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:

  • 6,782 deaths (5 new)
  • 505,224 positive cases; 97 percent off isolation
  • 25.3 percent of Minnesotans with at least 1 vaccine dose
  • 78.6 percent of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least 1 vaccine dose

While the state’s made progress in vaccinations, especially among those age 65 and older, it hasn’t yet vaccinated enough people to establish a herd immunity, and there’s a danger of another surge.

“We are in a race between the variants and the vaccine, and the decisions we all make in the next few weeks will have a lot to say about the outcome of this race,” Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, told reporters Friday. “We need to be cautious a little while longer.”

Vaccination pace remains flat

State health officials reported 59,325 more vaccinations on Sunday, more than was reported the previous Sunday. The seven-day trend remains above 41,000 shots daily, but relatively flat. State officials have said vaccine supplies are expected to jump soon.

Case counts and hospitalizations, however, have trended upward recently, reinforcing the belief that Minnesota’s in a race now to vaccinate people quickly enough to avoid another statewide COVID-19 surge.

Nearly 840,000 people — about 15.1 percent of the state’s population — have completed their vaccinations, while more than 1.4 million — 25.3 percent — have received at least one dose, including more than 78 percent of people age 65 and older.

Minnesota anticipates getting 350,000 doses the week of March 29, Gov. Tim Walz said Friday. Starting in April, officials also expect the feds to deliver 100,000 doses a week of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose.

South-central Minnesota update

Freeborn County reported nine new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, increasing the county’s cumulative total to 2,996.

According to the Freeborn County Public Health Department, there are 76 active cases in the county. No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported.

The new cases included one person between 5 and 9, one person in their 30s, two people in their 40s, four people in their 50s and one person in their 70s.

As of Friday, 8,421 people in Freeborn County had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 4,298 had received the completed series.

The following is an update on other area counties:

• Faribault County: four new lab-confirmed cases; 1,334 total cases; 3,808 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 2,007 have received completed series

• Mower County: 12 new lab-confirmed cases, two probable cases; 4,277 total cases; 11,776 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 5,781 have received completed series

• Steele County: 14 new lab-confirmed cases; 3,229 total cases; 9,196 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 4,569 have received completed series

• Waseca County: seven new lab-confirmed cases; 2,157 total cases; 4,609 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 2,558 have received completed series