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The daily coronavirus update: 44 more deaths; new COVID-19 strain present in Minnesota

The new strain, first identified in the UK, is much more easily transmitted from one person to another than other strains of the disease.

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 10, 2021:

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436,572 cases; 5,707 deaths

Forty-four more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Sunday, for a total of 5,707.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Sunday, 14 were in their 90s, 13 were in their 80s, 13 were in their 70s, two were in their 60s and two were in their 50s. Twenty-seven of the 44 people whose deaths announced Sunday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Sunday there have been 436,572 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 2,159 from the total announced on Saturday and is based on 40,189 new tests. The most recent seven-day positivity rate, which lags by a week, is 6.9 percent, up from a recent low of 4.7 percent. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

In vaccine news, data show 132,280 Minnesotans have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Guidelines about who gets the vaccinated next are expected in mid-January. More information, including demographics, on Minnesotans vaccinated can be found here.

The most recent data available show 130 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 629 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.

On Saturday, MDH reported 2,465 new cases and 43 deaths.

More information on cases can be found here.

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More-transmissible ‘U.K.’ COVID-19 strain found in Minnesota

A new variant of COVID-19 believed to be more transmissible, first found in the United Kingdom and later in a handful of U.S. states, has been identified in Minnesota, MDH announced Saturday.

The variant was found in specimens from five Minnesotans residing in four Twin Cities metropolitan counties, MDH announced. It was identified via genomic sequencing by the MDH lab in four cases and by the Centers for Disease Control in one case.

In a statement, State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield said Saturday that given the strain’s presence in other states, its identification here wasn’t surprising.

“Knowing that it is now here does not change our current public health recommendations,” she said.

While the strain is believed to be more transmissible, it is not believed to be more virulent, meaning it’s not known to cause more severe disease.

Vaccines currently in use are believed to be effective against the new strain.

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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