The Free Press and MPR News

The resident was 75-79 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

South-central Minnesota’s nine counties have combined for 245 total COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.

The latest death was among eight reported statewide Friday. Minnesota’s pandemic death toll rose to 7,445.

While COVID-19 death counts have ramped down in recent months, they haven’t slowed as much as cases.

South-central Minnesota’s dramatic drop in cases since April continued this week. Area counties combined for just 30 between May 29-June 4, a 70% drop from the 101 during the prior week.

Testing was down partly due to the Memorial Day holiday, but cases were down even more. No area county had more than 10 new cases this week, compared to four having at least 10 in the previous week.

Only one county, Watonwan, had an increase in cases this week. The county reportedly had zero cases during the prior week, however, so the rise to three new cases this week isn’t alarming.

Area counties also combined for eight new COVID-19 cases Friday. It was a rise from the three on Thursday but extended the run of days with fewer than 10 new cases to six.

The full list of new cases by county includes:

• Blue Earth County — 2

• Faribault County — 2

• Le Sueur County — 1

• Nicollet County — 1

• Brown County — 1

• Watonwan County — 1

Statewide, Minnesota’s COVID-19 data continues to show the pandemic receding, although the goal of getting at least one vaccine dose into 70% of the state’s 16-and-older population by July 1 is turning into a challenge.

Officials remain hopeful, noting the 70% goal has been reached already in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Outside the region, however, it’s only about 57%. At the current pace, Minnesota might not hit 70% until late July.

In south-central Minnesota, about 57.7% of south-central residents 16 and older have at least one dose. About 53.8% are fully vaccinated.

For cases statewide, Friday’s health department report showed Minnesota is averaging only 231 new cases a day over the past seven reporting days. A month ago, it topped 1,500 a day.

Meanwhile, the count of known, active COVID-19 cases stayed below 2,500 for the third consecutive reporting day — the first time that’s happened since April 2020.

There are 252 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota; 66 in intensive care. Both figures continue to trend down from their spring peaks. In late April, hospitalizations were approaching 700 people, with more than 200 in ICUs.

Average daily hospital admissions have fallen by about half over the past two weeks.

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