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The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — The state reported 96 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday in the nine-county area and no additional deaths.

That compares to 67 new cases reported Saturday and a two-day total of 157 new cases reported Tuesday.

Minnesota’s newest COVID-19 data delivers more doses of good news and worry.

Active cases are trending now at levels not seen since late December. Hospitalizations and intensive needs are climbing. But the vaccination effort continues apace and the anticipated jump in vaccine shipments has begun.

Nineteen deaths reported Wednesday raised Minnesota’s overall pandemic death toll to 6,908. Among those who’ve died, about 62 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

The state has recorded 532,658 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 2,004 posted Wednesday. About 96 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.

Wednesday’s data showed more than 1.2 million Minnesotans fully inoculated while nearly 1.9 million have received at least one dose, including about 83 percent of residents age 65 and older.

The agency reported about 49,000 more vaccinations, with the seven-day trend at about 52,000 shots daily. Minnesota appears to be on track to have 50 percent of adults vaccinated in a little less than two weeks.

Mayo Clinic Health System announced Wednesday that patients and non-patients ages 16 and up in southern Minnesota can now schedule an appointment to be vaccinated for COVID-19 without a letter or notice from Mayo.

State officials have repeatedly described the current situation as a race against time to vaccinate as many Minnesotans as possible before the COVID-19 variants can get a stronger foothold in the state.

To help win that race, state and federal officials Monday unveiled plans to vaccinate as many as 100,000 Minnesotans over the next eight weeks at a site to be built at the state fairgrounds.

The site will prioritize underserved communities hit hardest by the pandemic.

On Wednesday Governor Tim Walz announced the state is hosting a temporary community vaccination event at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to replace the TCO Performance Center event. The venue suffered weather-related damage.

All nine area counties in the Mankato region had at least one new case. The full list of new cases by county includes:

• Blue Earth County — 29

• Nicollet County — 17

• Le Sueur County — 14

• Sibley County — 11

• Martin County — 9

• Brown County — 6

• Faribault County — 6

• Waseca County — 2

• Watonwan County — 1

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