ST. PAUL — The first death of a Minnesota teenager from COVID-19 was reported Thursday, Oct. 21, by the state Department of Health.

A Hennepin County resident between the ages of 15 and 19 was among the 26 new fatalities from COVID-19 reported Thursday. State health officials declined to say if the teen had any underlying health conditions or other factors that put them at higher risk of a severe infection.

“To protect the family’s privacy, we will not be disclosing further information on the death,” a state Department of Health spokesman said in an email. “This is a sad reminder that while young people generally have less severe COVID cases, there can be tragic exceptions.”

There have been 129,000 coronavirus infections in Minnesota children since the pandemic began, including 1,071 hospitalized and 234 in intensive care. Four Minnesotans under the age of 20 have died of COVID-19.

About 86% of the 8,515 COVID-19 deaths the state has recorded have been seniors.

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The remaining deaths reported Thursday ranged in age from their 50s to their late 90s. Six resided in long-term care, 19 in private homes and one person who died was homeless.

The state’s rate of COVID-19 deaths remains high even as other measures of the latest surge in cases show signs of easing.

For instance, new outbreaks in school buildings and new infections in long-term care facilities grew, but modestly, over the last week. There are now 538 school buildings with known outbreaks and 383 long-term care facilities with cases in residents or staff.

The number of new cases diagnosed so far this week is about 25% lower than it was a week ago, state Department of Health data shows. There were 2,361 new cases reported Thursday bringing the pandemic total to 768,112 since March 2020.

The number of new tests is also down, but only by about 14%. There were 27,850 test results reported Thursday and, since the pandemic began, nearly all of Minnesota’s 5.8 million residents have gotten tested at least once — 13.3 million total samples have been tested.

Test positivity fluctuates day-by-day, but continues to slowly decline.

Hospitalizations are also receding, but capacity remains tight throughout the state. There are 928 patients hospitalized including 248 in critical condition.

Health officials maintain that vaccines are the best way to avoid a severe infection and to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, breakthrough cases have become more common with 45,827 reported so far including 2,178 hospitalizations and 263 fatalities of fully vaccinated residents.

Minnesota has administered 6.7 million doses of vaccine and 3.4 million people have gotten at least one dose. About 73% of the vaccine-eligible population, age 12 and older, have received at least one shot.