MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As COVID-19 vaccination appointments become more readily available for eligible Minnesotans, state health officials on Tuesday reported five more deaths and 1,189 more virus cases.

The update comes as more than 52% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one vaccine dose. But the virus transmission rate continues to be a concern, with the state’s latest positivity rate now hovering at 7.4% and hospitalizations per capita also rising.

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The state’s positivity rate has been rising since early March, when it was 3.5%. The positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average, hit 7.4% on April 7 and has stayed there through April 11, which is the latest positivity rate due to data lag.

The state is closing in on 560,000 total virus cases reported since the pandemic began, with about 535,000 no longer needing to quarantine. Over 40,000 cases have been discovered among health care workers. The death toll is now at 7,031.

In hospitals as of Monday, there are 193 patients with COVID-19 requiring intensive care unit beds. An additional 493 patients with the virus need non-ICU beds. Overall, 29,282 people have required hospitalization for the virus.

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Over 8.8 million tests for COVID-19 have been completed in the state. Over 14,000 were processed in the last 24 hours.

VACCINE DATA

Over 2.3 million people in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including over 85% of those 65 years of age and older. Over 1.6 million people have completed their vaccine series. In total, 3.74 million vaccine doses have been administered.

Vaccine appointments are now more widely available. Health experts, however, worry that the pause on Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine due to its link to rare blood clots could lead to more hesitancy with vaccines.

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The country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said this weekend that he believes the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will resume soon, likely with a warning or restriction. He expects a decision to be made by Friday on the vaccine’s fate.