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The daily coronavirus update: 22 more deaths; Minnesota won’t give feds personal data on who gets vaccine

Gov. Tim Walz will outline Minnesota’s plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday afternoon. 

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 8, 2020:

359,203 cases; 4,027 deaths

Twenty-two more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 4,027.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Tuesday, one was over 100 years old, five were in their 90s, eight were in their 80s, five were in their 70s, two were in their 60s and one was in their 50s. Fifteen of the 22 people whose deaths announced Tuesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

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The state has reported 434 deaths in December, making it the third deadliest month of the pandemic after just eight days. There were 696 deaths reported in May and 1,136 deaths reported in November.

MDH also said Tuesday there have been 359,203 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 3,051 from the total announced on Monday and is based on 27,432 new tests. The seven-day positive case average, which lags by a week, is 13 percent. After a recent stretch of decline, the seven-day case average has been rising again. Health officials say a rate higher than 5 percent is a concerning sign of disease spread.

The most recent data available show 359 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 1,245 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.

More information on cases can be found here.

Walz to detail vaccine rollout plan

Update (5:24 p.m.): State officials estimated on Tuesday that Minnesota would get enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for 183,400 people in the first month of vaccine administration. Top priority for first doses of a vaccine will go to people working in COVID-19 units in hospitals, intensive care units, emergency departments and COVID-19 urgent care clinics, plus people who are living or working in nursing homes, COVID-19 testers and people who dole out vaccines.

Read more about the full vaccine distribution plan here.

As the federal government inches closer to approving COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday afternoon will outline Minnesota’s plan for distributing them.

Workers in health care and at long-term care facilities are likely to be a top priority for vaccination, along with those in populations vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19, such as the elderly.

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The governor will be joined by state legislative leaders at 1:30 p.m. news conference and then will do a media call afterward for Greater Minnesota press with the mayors of Duluth, Luverne, Rochester and Moorhead.

NBC News reported Tuesday morning the Food and Drug Administration says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offers partial protection after one dose and close to full protection after two doses. The FDA gave the vaccine a good safety review, too. Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, told the news outlet he could “see absolutely no reason why this emergency use authorization would not be granted.”

Minnesota refuses to let feds know who has taken vaccine

State health officials won’t report personal patient information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that can identify who has been vaccinated for COVID-19, the New York Times reported on Tuesday

The Times says the Trump administration is requiring states to give personal data such as names, birth dates, ethnicities and addresses of those who are vaccinated in part to ensure people who travel across state lines get a second dose of the vaccine. Some states, however, are refusing.

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Such information has been tracked at the state level and the idea of a federal vaccine registry has raised privacy concerns. Minnesota plans to report “de-identified doses-administered data,” Minnesota Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz told the Times.  “We will not be reporting name, ZIP code, race, ethnicity or address,” Schultz said.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

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

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