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The daily coronavirus update: positive-case average declines as vaccine allocation increases

The Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday that 24 more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19. 

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 February 3, 2021:

Twenty-four more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 6,234.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, one was over 100 years old, eight were in their 90s, five were in their 80s, three were in their 70s, one was in their 60s and six were in their 50s. Fourteen of the 24 people whose deaths announced Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

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MDH also said Wednesday there have been 463,766 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 634 from the total announced on Tuesday and is based on 21,408 new tests. Minnesota has reported fewer than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in four consecutive days.

The seven-day positive case average, which lags by a week, is 4.3 percent. That rate has declined for weeks and is below a 5-percent “caution” threshold set by the state.

State data as of Monday show 458,651 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That is roughly 8.3 percent of the state’s population. MDH says 122,597 residents have gotten both required shots of a two-part vaccine program.

Margaret Kelly, MDH assistant commissioner, said during a state Senate hearing Wednesday that Minnesota will get a 21 percent boost in vaccine allocation this week and next week, giving the state a total of 167,650 doses over that time period.

The state is in the second week of a three-week increase in vaccine allocations of 16 percent from the federal government. Kelly said the feds announced another 5 percent hike Tuesday that will last three weeks starting now. Kelly said MDH doesn’t know if the increases will continue going forward.

The most recent data available show 77 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 302 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.

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More information on cases can be found here.

Nursing home cases drop as 81 percent of residents take vaccine

Recent data shows a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases in nursing homes, possibly due to ongoing vaccinations, said Kris Ehresmann, MDH’s infectious disease director, in a state Senate hearing Wednesday. 

Typically there are far more cases in nursing homes than in assisted living facilities. But in the past week, case numbers have been more even after a dip in nursing homes. Ehresmann said all residents and staff and skilled nursing homes have been offered a first dose of vaccine, which could be the reason for the decline.

Ehresmann said she wanted to see if the downturn continued before declaring it a trend. Cases more generally have been dropping in long-term care facilities as they have across the state in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, Ehresmann said 81 percent of residents in nursing homes, but only 48 percent of staff chose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a late January survey. Still, Ehresmann said when people administering doses go back to give second doses, about 20 percent of people who initially declined a first dose have been taking them. Each facility will be visited three times with vaccine offers.

According to MDH, 1,195 of 1,600 assisted living facilities have received their first dose visit, and nearly all are expected to be completed next week.

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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