MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We are approaching one year since the COVID-19 virus changed everything.

The first case of the virus in Minnesota was confirmed on March 6, 2020.

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On this date just one year ago, there had only been five Minnesotans tested for COVID-19 and the state’s testing capacity was working up to 100 people a day.

Fast forward to today, when the state is capable of doing tens of thousands of tests each day.

“We’ve suffered a lot, we’ve learned a lot and we are in a much better place today,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday.

A year ago, no one had died from the novel coronavirus in Minnesota. A year later, 485,655 Minnesotans have had COVID-19. More than 6,000 of them died.

READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 2,299 New Cases, 6 Deaths; Cumulative Fatalities Near 7,000

“It’s been an unprecedented year, a difficult year and affected everyone some way or another,” Malcolm said. “Certainly for someone who has lost a loved one.”

There have been incredible advances in science and technology, with a vaccine arriving in Minnesota just over nine months after the first confirmed case in the state.

Pfizer’s arrived first with some of the first doses going to health care workers at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System in December. Then Moderna’s vaccine came.

Now the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is coming to Minnesota. Roughly 16% of the state’s population has been vaccinated with an estimated timeline to have it open up to the general population by summer.

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“We have every hope that we may be able to accelerate those timelines by some degree just, again, depending on how quickly the vaccine supply ramps up,” Malcolm said.

Kate Raddatz