MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the first phase of the state’s timeline to end COVID-19 restrictions is set to be implemented at noon, Minnesota health officials on Friday reported 1,453 additional virus cases and 12 more deaths. Meanwhile, nearly 60% of the state’s eligible population has received at least one vaccine dose.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state’s total tally of recorded COVID-19 cases is approaching 586,000 since the pandemic began. Over 41,000 of those cases were found among health care workers. Over 564,000 people who contracted the virus no longer need to isolate themselves.

About 4.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state since December. Over 87% of those 65 years of age and older have received at least one vaccine dose, and about 64% of those between 50 and 64.

Just over 2 million people, or about 47% of the state’s eligible population, have completed their vaccine series.

The state’s latest positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average, is at 5.8% as of April 28, due to data lag. While it’s still in the “caution” status, the positivity rate has been decreasing since a recent peak of 7.5% in early April. Community spread continues to be a concern with about 43% of cases having an unknown exposure source.

In total, over 4 million people have been tested for COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Some Restrictions End At Noon Friday

Gov. Tim Walz has announced that the state will end remaining restrictions on outdoor limits and indoor activities by May 28. It’s part of his three-step timeline to end all COVID-19 restrictions, which also includes lifting the mask mandate by July 1 or sooner.

“It’s been a long journey, but we did the things that needed to be done,” Walz said at a press conference Thursday. “The job’s not done, but the plan to finish it is on us now.”

The first step in the plan takes place this Friday at noon, with more loosening of restrictions taking place primarily in outdoor settings. The limit will be removed for outdoor dining, events, and other get-togethers. The mask requirement will also end for outdoors except for large venues with over 500 people.

The mandatory closing time of 11 p.m. will also end for bars, restaurants and “food and beverage service at other places of public accommodation.”