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Cases continue to fall, vaccinations hold steady

As the state races to beat out a new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 with vaccines, COVID-19 cases — and case positivity rate — continue to decline.

The state reported 1,189 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday. Meanwhile, vaccination rates held steady, with 52 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older having gotten a COVID-19 shot.

And while hospitalizations overall remained unchanged from recent days, there’s no clear decline yet in the hospitalization data. The state reported 193 people in the intensive care unit on Tuesday, and 493 people in non-ICU beds. Both figures are about as high as they’ve been in months.”

The state reported five additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s death toll to 7,031.

Here are Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 statistics, as of Monday:

7,031 deaths (five new); 558,850 positive cases; 95 percent off isolation

52% of adults with at least one dose; 36 percent completely vaccinated

About 85% of Minnesotans 65 and older with at least one vaccine dose

Vaccinations on downward slide

As of Tuesday, the state Health Department data showed that more than 1.6 million Minnesotans had completed their full vaccine series — two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — while nearly 2.3 million have received at least one dose, including about 85 percent of residents age 65 and older.

Those numbers have been holding steady in recent days, and the data overall suggests vaccines are on a downward slide. This is partially driven by supply cuts, particularly in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which federal authorities paused last week as it investigates the possibility of rare side effects associated with the shot.

Meanwhile, supply continues to outpace demand in some parts of the state.

On Tuesday, Mayo Clinic, which has locations throughout southern Minnesota, put a call out to media that it had too many spots. In a notice sent to the press, Mayo said that people who are not Clinic patients could sign up for a vaccine with them, as well as people who don’t live in Minnesota.

Elsewhere, local public health with extra doses is partnering with schools to vaccinate teenagers 16 and older.

Still, the data shows that Minnesota, on the whole, is administering vaccines almost as quickly as they come in.

Hospital, ICU needs hover at winter levels

Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past few weeks and are hovering around levels not seen since early January. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.

Still, the latest numbers suggest that hospitalizations may be peaking.

The age of those newly hospitalized is trending younger than earlier in the pandemic. The majority of people in the hospital now for COVID-19 are younger than 60.

Six deaths Tuesday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 7,031. Among those who have died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

The state has recorded 558,850 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 1,189 posted Tuesday. About 95 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.

There are signs that the current wave of new cases may be ebbing. The percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 over the past seven days continues to drop.

Thanks to vaccinations, officials don’t believe Minnesota will experience the kind of steep surge in cases seen in November and December.

Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. The latest numbers, however, show cases creeping up across the state.

South-central Minnesota update

Freeborn County reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, increasing the county’s cumulative cases to 3,287.

Information has not yet been released about the new cases or how many cases are considered valid.

As of Sunday, 11,943 in the county had received one vaccination dose and 8,629 had received the completed series.

The following is an update on other area counties:

• Faribault County: three new lab-confirmed cases; 1,445 total cases; 5,304 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 4,011 had received the completed series.

• Mower County: six new lab-confirmed cases; 4,519 total cases; 16,686 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 12,067 had received the completed series.

• Steele County: six new lab-confirmed cases; 3,647 total cases; 14,096 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 9,414 had received the completed series.

• Waseca County: five new lab-confirmed cases; 2,319 total cases; 6,878 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 4,852 had received the completed series.