Stock COVID 3

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

The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — The Minnesota Department of Health reported two deaths in the nine-county region from COVID-19 Sunday.

A Blue Earth County resident between the ages of 45 – 49 and a Sibley County resident between the ages of 95 – 99 contributed to a total of nine deaths in Minnesota, bringing the regional death toll to 211 and a statewide total of 6,432 deaths since the pandemic began.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported an additional 79 new cases of the virus in the nine-county region — the highest it’s been since Jan. 9 when 120 area residents tested positive for the virus.

Blue Earth, Nicollet and Brown counties had double digit increases Sunday, with 22, 19 and 15, respectively. Faribault county had eight new cases, followed by five each in Martin and Waseca Counties.

Le Sueur County had three cases Sunday and Sibley and Watonwan counties each reported one additional case.

Statewide, there were 891 confirmed cases Sunday, bringing Minnesota’s total to 479,036. Of those, 465,382 Minnesota residents no longer require isolation.

To date, slightly over 5% of Minnesotans who tested positive for the virus required hospitalization.

The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Minnesota stayed relatively flat in Sunday’s update from state health officials, with no sign yet of a decline due to weather-delayed vaccine shipments.

Averaged over the past week, the number of vaccine doses administered each day ticked upward slightly, to just under 30,000.

But more than half of the new vaccinations reported Sunday were second doses, allowing people to complete their vaccinations. The number of people getting their first vaccine dose has been falling in recent days.

State public health leaders have emphasized over the past weeks that the relatively low flow of vaccine supplies from the federal government is the main problem holding back the pace of vaccinations.

While recent vaccination numbers are trending upward, Minnesota at the current pace would only be able to vaccinate about 80% of adults by sometime in September. Getting it done by summer would require the state to administer 40,000 to 50,000 shots per day, or more.

About 13.6% of Minnesotans had received at least one dose as of the latest update, with about 6.1% completely vaccinated. More than 41% of Minnesotans 65 and older have received at least one shot.

The total number of vaccine doses administered now stands at 1,059,617.

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

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