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The daily coronavirus update: 18 more deaths; new-case growth has slowed

Despite the improvement, the Health Department expects Minnesota to reach a total of 400,000 cases by Christmas.

COVID-19
COVID-19
Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from December 14, 2020:

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381,841 cases; 4,462 deaths

Eighteen more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 4,462.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Monday, five were in their 90s, seven were in their 80s, four were in their 70s and two were in their 60s. Eleven of the 18 people whose deaths announced Monday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Monday there have been 381,841 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 3,018 from the total announced on Sunday and is based on 45,341 new tests. The most recent seven-day case positivity average, which lags by a week, is 12.4 percent, up from 11.1 percent a week prior and but down from 13 percent two weeks prior. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

In a bit of potentially encouraging news, new case growth has slowed since mid-November. Still, MDH anticipates Minnesota reaching 400,000 cases before Christmas.

The most recent data available show 319 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 964 are in the hospital with COVID-19 not in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the number of hospital beds in use due to COVID-19 is down slightly, but cautioned that this trend may not be permanent and that hospitalizations are still high.

More information on cases can be found here.

Vaccine arrives in Minnesota

The first shipments of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Minnesota Monday. Shipments went to the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Sanford Bemidji Medical Center, Olmsted Medical Center and Cass Lake Indian Health Services.

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MDH anticipates Minnesota having 46,800 units of vaccine delivered statewide this week. While some federal facilities, such as the VA, plan to start vaccinating this week, MDH plans to use this week to train other providers on how to administer and handle the vaccine, with vaccination starting no later than a week from today.

In the first phase, the vaccine will go to health care workers and long-term care residents, after which the vaccine is likely to go to essential workers and older adults, Ehresmann said.

“It will be several months before the average Minnesotan will be able to be vaccinated but we will get there,” she said. You can read more about Minnesota’s vaccine roll-out plans so far here.

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Around the web

 

MDH’s coronavirus website: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html

MDH’s phone line for COVID-19 questions, Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m: 651-297-1304