ST. PAUL — Minnesota health officials reported the diagnosis of 3,148 additional COVID-19 cases in the state on the first workday of 2021.
Figures released Monday, Jan. 4 account for a backlog of disease tests that were only recently completed, the officials said, but still bode well for the state's pandemic outlook. That's despite slight increases in Minnesota's per capita case rates and its test positivity rate over last week.
"There's absolutely no question that our COVID-19 situation in the state has improved from where it was," State Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters on a press call Monday. "But we know that improvement is tenuous... if we let our guard down, COVID-19 finds a way to surge back."
Malcolm's comments came as Minnesota enters a new year and new phase of the pandemic. Health measures implemented in November to tamp down on a surge in COVID-19 infections appear to have worked, she said, and vaccines for the disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, continue to be administered.
A total of 74,402 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Minnesota so far, 38,112 of which were given just last week. Health Department Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said Minnesota received 221,550 doses of the vaccine by Dec. 31, approximately 85,000 of which were required to be put toward a program being developed by the federal government and several major U.S. pharmacy chains.
Approximately 500,000 doses are needed in order to administer first-round shots to all members of the state population segment that health officials are prioritizing, which is predominantly made up of health care workers and long-term care facility residents. (Two doses of the vaccine are required in order for it to be most effective.)
Officials said Monday that all individuals estimated to belong to that segment may receive their shots by the end of January. As a country, however, the U.S. is struggling to distribute and administer doses in a timely fashion.
As of Monday, approximately 840 people in Minnesota were hospitalized with COVID-19, around 150 of whom are in intensive care settings. Thirteen additional deaths caused by the disease were reported in the state on Monday, bringing its death toll to 5,443.
Of the deaths newly reported as of Monday, all but four occurred in the Twin Cities area. Seven occurred in long-term care facilities.
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- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
- COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.