Health Officials On Monday Report 473 More Virus Cases, 6 More DeathsBy WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As health officials recommend testing in Carver County due to a COVID-19 variant outbreak, 473 more virus cases and six more deaths were reported Monday.

Meanwhile, 66% of those 65 years of age and older have been vaccinated in Minnesota, bringing the state closer to the governor’s goal of 70% by the end of March. Over 1 million people have now had at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 600,000 people have completed the vaccine series.

READ MORE: Minnetonka's Kiani Lockett Is Taking Nothing For Granted

Since the pandemic began, over 490,000 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the state, with 6,556 deaths linked to the virus. Over 62% of the deaths occurred in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

About 3.5 million people have been tested for the virus since the pandemic began.

CARVER COUNTY VARIANT OUTBREAK

Health officials are urging more testing in Carver County due to a rapidly growing outbreak of B1117 variant COVID-19.

A new temporary testing site has been set up at the Chanhassen Recreation Center. Testing will occur Thursday through Saturday for the next two weeks. Appointments are encouraged but not required.

READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Over 6 Inches Of Snow Possible In Northern MN This Weekend, Cold Temps To Follow

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcom says the variants present added risk that we may see another surge in cases, and is asking everyone to do their part in preventing that.

“When combined with social distancing, masking, avoiding crowds and staying home when sick, testing can help us slow the spread of COVID-19 while we work tirelessly to get as many Minnesotans as we can vaccinated,” she said.

Health officials are recommending a two-week pause in youth sports in Carver County due to the outbreak.

Since late January, the Minnesota Department of Health has detected at least 84 COVID-19 cases linked to club sport activities, including hockey, wrestling, basketball, and alpine skiing, among others. Of the 68 cases, 27 have been confirmed cases of the B117 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom. Officials have also seen an increase in cases connected to Carver County gyms and fitness centers.

CDC ISSUES GUIDANCE TO THOSE VACCINATED

Also on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for those fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

MORE NEWS: Man, 75, Killed In Otter Tail County Crash

The CDC says those fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors in small settings without masks or physical distancing.