Stock COVID 3

The Minnesota Department of Health's testing lab handles samples of COVID-19.

The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — Area counties combined for a total of 65 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Sunday. That’s an uptick from Saturday’s total of 49, but lower than several days prior, were totals had hovered around 80 cases since Wednesday.

Blue Earth County had 25, followed by 10 each in Brown and Le Sueur counties, eight in Nicollet County and five in Martin County.

Watonwan County reported three new cases, and Faribault and Waseca counties had one new case each.

Statewide, there were 1,713 newly reported cases of the virus and six deaths, none of which occurred in the nine-county region.

The count of known, active cases fell back below 15,000 in Sunday’s numbers, down from the most recent peak of about 20,000 in mid-April.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive remains just below the 5% threshold that experts find concerning.

Hospitalizations had been climbing the past few weeks, hovering at levels not seen since January.

Friday’s numbers showed 619 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota; 166 needed intensive care. Both figures are down from the prior week. Hospitalizations can often stay higher for several weeks following an increase in active cases.

The state has recorded 579,235 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 1,713 posted Sunday. About 96% of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to isolate.

Minnesota is nearing the milestone of 2 million residents with completed COVID-19 vaccinations.

As of Sunday’s update from the Minnesota Department of Health, the number stood at 1,972,888 completed vaccinations — about 44.7% of the state’s 16-and-older population. More than 58% of Minnesotans 16 and older have at least one vaccine dose.

It was March 30 when the health department reported the state had reached 1 million completed vaccinations.

Looking at seven-day rolling averages, there was a slight uptick in new COVID cases and the test positivity rate as of Sunday’s update. But the longer-term trend in both those metrics is downward — and Gov. Tim Walz in coming days is expected to loosen some curbs on public gatherings, likely increasing capacity limits for bars, restaurants and other venues.

Dan Greenwood is a Free Press staff writer. Contact him at dgreenwood@mankatofreepress.com

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