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COVID-19 update: Vaccination pace climbs; pandemic trends steady

Minnesota’s vaccination pace is accelerating again, and state officials remain confident they’re on a path to offering a shot to every Minnesota adult starting in late April.

The Health Department on Thursday reported more than 48,000 new vaccinations, significantly higher than the prior Thursday. The seven-day trend is running at more than 42,000 shots daily, the highest since vaccinations began in late December.

Agency data shows more than 642,000 people — 11.6 percent of the state’s population — have completed their vaccinations, while more than 1.1 million — about 20.3 percent — had received at least one dose, including more than 70 percent of people age 65 and older.

Because doses are shipped once a week, the state often sees its vaccination counts jump from Thursday through Sunday.

Officials continue to urge Minnesotans to stay vigilant against the disease, wearing masks in public gathering spaces and socially distancing. Concern continues to bubble around an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 in Carver County that includes the worrisome U.K. strain.

State public health leaders have described their push to vaccinate Minnesotans as a race against another possible surge in the disease. That race came into focus Thursday — active case counts are ticking up.

Minnesota ranks 17th among states in doses administered per 100,000 people, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pandemic metrics mostly stable; active cases up

Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers show disease conditions continue to stay mostly stable, but there was a noticeable rise in the number of known, active cases. That count came in at 7,669 on Thursday, the highest it’s been in nearly a month.

While the overall trend remains flat and current counts are still very low compared to late November and early December, the increase is notable given the concerns about the rise of the U.K. COVID-19 strain in Minnesota.

Hospitalization rates remain at levels last seen before the late-fall surge in cases. There were 236 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota as of Wednesday; 63 needed intensive care.

Nineteen newly reported deaths brought Minnesota’s collective in the pandemic toll to 6,724. 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 has recorded 494,106 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,096 posted Thursday. About 97 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.

South-central Minnesota update

Freeborn County’s active cases are hovering at 101, with eight new cases reported Thursday.

The county has had 2,912 cases since the start of the pandemic.

The new cases included one person between 10 and 14, one person between 15 and 19, one person in their 40s, two people in their 50s, two people in their 60s and one person in their 70s.

No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported.

Freeborn County has had 6,178 people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 2,844 have received the completed series.

The following is an update on other area counties:

• Faribault County: eight new lab-confirmed cases; 1,415 total cases; 3,065 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 1,234 have received the completed series

• Mower County: 12 new lab-confirmed cases, one probable case; 4,162 total cases; 8,365 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 3,993 have received the completed series

• Steele County: 13 new lab-confirmed cases; 3,105 total cases; 6,723 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 2,988 have received the completed series

• Waseca County: two new lab-confirmed cases; 2,130 total cases; 3,666 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 1,735 have received the completed series