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The daily coronavirus update: 43 more deaths; MDH alters vaccine guidance for Minnesotans 65 and older

The announcement did not signal the beginning of mass vaccination for Minnesotans in that age group, though, and was limited to extra vaccine doses providers may have on hand.

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 January 14, 2021:

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441,935 cases; 5,817 deaths

Forty-three more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday, for a total of 5,817.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Thursday, two were over 100 years old, six were in their 90s, 18 were in their 80s, seven were in their 70s, five were in their 60s and five were in their 50s. Twenty-three of the 43 people whose deaths announced Thursday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Thursday there have been 441,935 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 1,581 from the total announced on Wednesday and is based on 36,678 new tests. The most recent seven-day positivity average, which lags by a week, is 7.3 percent, down from 7.5 percent days prior but up from a recent low under 5 percent in late December. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

As of Monday, 153,332 had been reported as having at least one dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or 2.8 percent of the state’s population.

The most recent data available show 131 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 514 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.

MDH encourages providers to makes any extra doses available to those over 65

On Thursday, MDH encouraged providers who are successfully working through the first priority group for vaccination and have extra doses to vaccinate Minnesotans 65 or older.

From an MDH statement: “Today’s announcement is designed to free health care providers and other vaccination partners to use all available doses as quickly as possible while still ensuring that doses are targeted to those most at need for protection from COVID-19.”

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“We are approaching the end of our earliest stages of the vaccine rollout, and we want to make sure all vaccines in the state are getting into arms as quickly as possible,” Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in the statement. “The state is making sure that providers have nothing holding them back from immediately using any and all vaccine they have available. That said, the reality is that we have far more Minnesotans wanting the vaccine than we have doses available from the federal government. We are ready to get more vaccines out very quickly, but now we desperately need the federal government to step up and provide us with more vaccine.”

The announcement comes in the wake of the federal government announcement Tuesday that people 65 and older and younger people with underlying health conditions should be made eligible for vaccination. It’s not yet clear what the announcement means for Minnesota’s plans to vaccinate its second priority group, 1B, which was expected to include people over age 75 and essential workers. MDH plans to announce more in the coming days.

Minnesotans 65 or older are being told not to call their providers to ask about getting vaccinated as of now, since Malcolm said the state’s new guidance has more to do with giving providers flexibility than advising large groups of Minnesotans how to get a vaccine.

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