By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Minnesota healthcare systems work to figure out how to keep up COVID-19 vaccine supplies, state health officials reported Sunday 1,364 new cases of the virus and 40 more deaths.

The latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health brings the state’s cumulative coronavirus case count to 446,380 and the death toll to 5,927. Of the most recent deaths, 24 were residents in long-term care facilities. Residents in such facilities have accounted for more than 60% of the state’s COVID-19 fatalities. As such, they are being the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, along with frontline health care workers.

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According to the state’s vaccine data dashboard, some 184,000 Minnesotans in the group Phase 1A have received their first of two vaccine doses. Nearly 36,000 people in the high-priority group have received the complete series. Officials expect residents in long-term care and frontline health care workers — about 500,000 people in total — to be inoculated by the end of the month.

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Following changes in federal guidelines, state health officials announced this week that a greater number of Minnesotans will soon be able to get the vaccine, as it will be available to Minnesotans ages 65 and older. The exact changes of the broader rollout are to be announced in the coming days. Meanwhile, health officials are urging the federal government to provide more vaccine doses immediately.

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For months, the state has planned its vaccine rollout with assurances from the federal government. However, state officials say the federal government has not done what it had promised, sending fewer doses of the vaccine than expected and failing to keep a storehouse of second doses. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called the failing to keep a reserve of second doses a catastrophe.

As of late last week, 612 people were in Minnesota hospitals battling COVID-19, with 125 people in intensive care. Hospitalizations have held relatively steady this month, and they are down significantly from the peaks reached in late November, when ICU beds were near capacity.

In the last 24 hours, 31,567 tests were processed in Minnesota. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3.1 million people in the state have been tested. Of those who tested positive, 427,468 have recovered and no longer need to self-isolate.

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