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The daily coronavirus update: first shipments of J&J vaccine arrive in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health also reported Wednesday that  17 more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, for a total of 6,507.

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.

Seventeen more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday, for a total of 6,507.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Wednesday, six were in their 90s, four were in their 80s, one was in their 70s, four were in their 60s, one was in their 50s and one was in their 40s. Seven of the 17 people whose deaths announced Wednesday were residents of long-term care facilities.

MDH also said Wednesday there have been 486,434 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. That number is up 779 from the total announced on Tuesday and is based on 20,512 new tests. The most recent seven-day positivity rate, which lags by a week, is 3.5 percent, remaining under the 5 percent “caution” threshold. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

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As of Monday, the most recent day of data available, 928,963 people in Minnesota, or 16.7 percent of the population, had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That’s 20,373 more than the day prior. Meanwhile, 484,383 Minnesotans have received two doses. More than half — 54.4 percent — of Minnesotans age 65 and older have received at least one dose. That’s an important number to watch because Gov. Tim Walz said he would open the vaccine up to the next group once 70 percent of 65+ Minnesotans have had at least one dose.

For those looking to schedule appointments, Thrifty White pharmacies opened up another batch of appointments for Minnesotans 65+ Wednesday. Also, here’s a website that scrapes the sites of WalMart, Sam’s Club and Walgreen’s for Minnesota vaccine appointments. CentraCare in Central Minnesota is also scheduling appointments for eligible Minnesotans, and eligible Minnesotans on a Vaccine Hunter Facebook group are reporting success booking appointments by logging onto MyChart through various health systems.

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday welcomed one of the first shipments of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Minnesota. The vaccine, the third to receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration only requires a single dose, making it particularly useful for populations that are harder to vaccinate. Its approval is expected to accelerate the state’s efforts to get residents vaccinated. Minnesota will receive 45,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. Fox 9’s Theo Keith reports that Minnesota is not expecting J&J doses next week due to manufacturing issues. 

The most recent data available show 57 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 186 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.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

MDH’s phone line for COVID-19 questions: 651-297-1304