MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Gov. Tim Walz expected to announce another set of relaxations on COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health reports 1,267 newly confirmed positive cases and another 17 deaths due to the virus in the last 24 hours, from about 25,827 newly completed tests.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 582,576 positive cases and 7,191 deaths.READ MORE: Grandma, 102, Attends Both Grandsons' Football Game After Recovering From COVID
This news comes as the state has also surpassed 2 million residents completing their vaccine series. In total, 59% of Minnesotans 16 or older have received at least one dose, and 87% of those 65 or older have received at least one dose.
In total, the state has administered 4,416,163 doses of vaccine.
“I am grateful for the 2 million Minnesotans who rolled up their sleeves and completed their vaccine series to protect themselves and their community against this deadly disease,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a release. “Every Minnesotan who gets a shot in their arm brings us closer to closing this chapter and getting back to all the things in life we want to get back to.”
According to MDH, since the pandemic began, more than 4 million Minnesotans have been tested.READ MORE: MN Doctor Says Hospitals Strained By COVID Patients, And 'Vaccination Is The Answer'
The state’s rolling average positivity rate has slid to 5.9%. Anything above 5% is considered cause for increased caution, the positivity rate has been declining rapidly over the last few weeks, following a peak in April at about 7.5%.
Community spread remains high, with 43.3% of cases reported with no known source of exposure. The line of caution is drawn at 20%.
The latest figures of those hospitalized show 149 Minnesotans in ICU, down roughly a quarter from about two weeks ago when that figure topped 200. The overall figures show hospitalization figures remain high as more cases of the U.K. variant are reported, with an average of 12.6 new daily hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, which is another figure that has been dropping in recent days. Anything above eight hospitalizations per 100,000 is considered high risk.
The most recent rollback of COVID restrictions in Minnesota came about halfway through March, when restaurants and bars were allowed to operate at 75% capacity, and gym capacities increased to 50%. Entertainment venues were also allowed to up indoor and outdoor occupancy levels from 25% to 50%, with a maximum of 250 people.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: MDH Reports 2,645 More Virus Cases As Latest Positivity Rate Hovers At 7.1%
New modeling from the Centers for Disease Control projects “a sharp decline in cases” by July, though the CDC noted that if public health guidance is not followed, the country could see “substantial increases in severe COVID-19 outcomes.”