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The Free Press

MANKATO — Seven of the nine counties in south-central Minnesota have more than half of their 16-and-older population fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Minnesota Department of Health’s latest vaccine update shows Le Sueur and Sibley counties as the two area counties below 50% for full vaccinations among residents 16 and older. Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Martin, Nicollet, Waseca and Watonwan counties are above 50%.

Altogether, the south-central region sat at 54.1% of 16-and-older residents with full vaccinations as of Sunday. About 57.9% of the same demographic has at least one dose of the vaccine.

While Le Sueur County’s full vaccination rate is at 48.4%, it’s at 51.9% for people with at least first doses. The latter figure indicates the county will become the eighth in the area to reach 50% for full vaccinations in the near future.

Sibley County, meanwhile, remains further away from 50%. It had 45.2% of residents 16 and older with full vaccinations as of Sunday, while 48.1% had at least one dose.

The statewide goal for vaccinations among Minnesotans 16 and older is 70%. Minnesota was at 65.1% for at least first doses and 59.9% for full vaccinations Sunday.

Although the vaccination pace has been at a crawl in recent weeks, the continued rise coincides with a time when new case counts have dwindled. Area counties combined for just six Sunday.

Another day with single-digit cases continued the region’s most encouraging stretch of pandemic days in about a year. The south-central region hasn’t had more than 10 new daily cases since May 28.

Blue Earth and Martin counties each had two of the six new cases. Le Sueur and Waseca counties each had one.

There were no new COVID-19 deaths reported in the region Sunday. Minnesota had four statewide, though, raising the pandemic death toll to 7,465.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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