Minnesota reports 1,640 new COVID-19 cases, 33 deaths Friday

Minnesota health officials reported 1,640 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 additional deaths Friday. 

There have now been 443,562 COVID-19 cases confirmed in Minnesota since the first infection was reported in the state in March, according to the latest Minnesota Department of Health data. Of those, over 95% have recovered to where they no longer require isolation. 

The 1,640 newly reported cases were out of 46,861 completed tests—a positivity rate of 3.5%. 

Sixteen of the 33 COVID-19 deaths reported on Friday were in the Twin Cities metro, while the rest were in Greater Minnesota. The deaths included one Hennepin County resident in their 40s, while the rest were people 60 years old or older.

Eighteen of the people who died were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. To date, over 71% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been in those types of facilities. 

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are continuing their downward trend. There are currently 612 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, down from 645 on Thursday and 787 a week ago. Of those 612 patients, 125 are in the ICU. 

Cases of new COVID-19 variant found in Minnesota

The new variant strain of COVID-19 has been detected in Minnesota, MDH confirmed this week. 

Five cases of the new strain were confirmed among residents of four counties in the Twin Cities metro, with the first patient exhibiting symptoms as early as Dec. 16. 

The strain was first discovered circulating in England in November and December of 2020. Researchers believe it spreads more easily than the original COVID-19 strain. There is no evidence, however, that it is more severe or increases the risk of death.

MDH launches online COVID-19 vaccine tracking dashboard 

MDH launched a new online COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday for tracking the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Minnesota. The dashboard is updated daily, but the reported data lags real-time numbers by a few days. 

As of Jan. 12, 162,040 people have gotten at least one shot from Minnesota providers and 24,745 people have gotten both doses of the vaccine. 

The dashboard shows 510,590 doses have been shipped to Minnesota. Although, 106,300 of those are for the federal pharmacy provider program, which is not overseen by the state.