The Free Press and MPR News
MANKATO — Area counties combined for a total of 75 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday, the highest it’s been in over a week, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Blue Earth had an additional 25 cases, followed by 10 each in Le Sueur and Martin counties.
Nicollet County had nine cases, followed by seven for Sibley County, six in Faribault County, three each in Brown and Waseca counties and two cases in Watonwan County.
There were no additional deaths from COVID-19 in the nine-county region.
The %age of Minnesotans 16 and older with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine ticked up to nearly 52 % on Sunday, after crossing the 50-% threshold the day before.
Sunday’s Health Department update showed 51.6 % of state residents 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, with more than 36 % completely vaccinated.
The state also reported 15 more Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 — pushing the overall pandemic death toll to 7,020. The state crossed the grim milestone of 7,000 COVID-19 deaths as of Saturday.
Overall, it’s a continued mix of hopeful and concerning news as the state works its way through another COVID-19 wave.
Sunday’s Health Department data showed more than 1.6 million Minnesotans fully inoculated while nearly 2.3 million have received at least one dose, including about 85% of residents age 65 and older. The agency reported more than 70,000 additional vaccinations — above the seven-day average but a week-over-week decrease from last Sunday’s numbers.
A short-term dip in the vaccination pace was expected, due to the pause on Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution.
The pause was prompted by a joint Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration recommendation that providers pause their distribution of the J&J vaccine while the agencies investigate the exceedingly rare occurrence of blood clots.
The clots have been found in six women — out of nearly 7 million vaccines given nationwide — between the ages of 18 and 48. Officials say they are not aware of any cases of blood clots occurring among the more than 184,000 state residents who have received the single dose vaccine.
At the current rate of vaccinations, 80% of Minnesotans 16 and older will have one dose by the end of the May.