By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As daily new COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations continue to trend downwards in Minnesota, health officials reported Tuesday 1,714 more cases of the virus and 24 more deaths.

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health brings the state’s total positive case tally to over 400,000 since the pandemic began in March. Meanwhile, the state’s death toll is now at 4,896.

Of the most recent fatalities, 16 of the victims were residents in long-term care facilities. This demographic has suffered disproportionately amid the pandemic, accounting for roughly 65% of the deaths in Minnesota.

The number of people battling COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals continues to drop. As of Monday, 1,040 people were hospitalized, with 237 patients in intensive care beds. Compare those numbers to three weeks ago, when more than 1,800 people were hospitalized, with nearly 400 patients in intensive care.

RELATED: CVS Plans To Vaccinate 63,000 Residents, Workers In Minnesota’s Long-Term Care Facilities

Last week, the first 46,800 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Minnesota and were administered to frontline health care workers. This week, another shipment of 33,000 doses of the vaccine is expected in the state.

Also next week, CVS Heath says its health care workers will be dispatched to nearly 600 long-term care facilities in Minnesota. The company says it plans to vaccinate 63,000 long-term care residents and workers.

But even as people are being vaccinated and hospitalizations are on the decline, health officials are urging Minnesotans to remain vigilant — to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. The COVID-19 vaccines aren’t expected to be available to the general public for months.

Later Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz is scheduled to announce the next steps in Minnesota’s vaccine rollout plan. The press conference is slated for 2 p.m. and will be streamed on CBSN Minnesota.