Minnesota reports 1,525 new COVID-19 cases, 21 deaths Friday

Minnesota health officials reported 1,525 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths Friday. 

The newly reported cases bring the total number of cases Minnesota has seen since the start of the pandemic to 452,268, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Health data. Over 96% of those cases have recovered to the point where they no longer require isolation. A total of 6,032 Minnesotans have now died from COVID-19. 

The 1,525 positive COVID-19 cases reported on Friday were out of 42,680 completed tests—a positivity rate of 3.6%. Minnesota’s seven-day average positivity rate is 4.8%. The state is currently averaging 1,264 new coronavirus cases per day. 

Nine of the 21 newly reported deaths were in the Twin Cities metro, while the rest were in Greater Minnesota. Eleven of people who died lived in long-term care or assisted living facilities and one was someone who was unsheltered or experiencing homelessness. 

The youngest person who died was a Ramsey County resident in their late 40s. The other 20 deaths were all people 55 or older. 

As of Tuesday, 214,050 Minnesotans have received the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and 49,604 are fully inoculated. 

MDH updates state testing guidance 

State health officials are now encouraging all people who are returning to the classroom, college campus or extracurricular activities such as youth sports to get proactively tested for COVID-19, especially people ages 12-25. 

MDH updated its state testing guidance on Thursday to recommend anyone who regularly interacts with people outside of their family unit or household get tested for the coronavirus. Previously, the health department only recommended anyone with symptoms, who had been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or who worked at places that remain open during the pandemic to get tested. 

The new recommendations come as students across the state have begun returning to the classroom and extracurricular activities following Gov. Tim Walz’s loosening of the state’s coronavirus-related restrictions.

State begins vaccinating Minnesota seniors

Nine pilot clinics opened across Minnesota on Thursday to begin administering vaccines to people ages 65 and up as well as teachers and child care workers. 

Officials say efforts will move slowly, at least for a while. Workers at the nine appointment-only sites are only scheduled to vaccinate 12,000 people this week, including 6,000 seniors and a total of 6,000 teachers and child care workers.

More appointments for people 65 and older will be made available on the state’s online vaccine portal on Tuesday. Teachers and child care workers will be notified by their employer if they are selected to receive an appointment.