By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Another 256 cases of COVID-19 were added Tuesday to the state’s infection tally as the cumulative case count inches closer to 600,000. Currently, the tally stands at 599,477 cases.

Eleven additional deaths were also reported by the Minnesota Department of Health, bringing the state’s death toll to 7,381 since the pandemic started more than a year ago.

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On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that 2.5 million Minnesotans have completed their vaccine series, accounting for nearly 57% of Minnesotans ages 16 and older.

As for the latest Minnesotans eligible for shots (those ages 12 to 15) some 60,000 youths in that demographic have received at least one vaccine shot. Earlier this month, federal health officials approve the Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12.

State health officials continue to urge Minnesotans to get vaccinated, saying that as more people get inoculated, the more life can return to normal this summer.

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In the last 24 hours, 7,251 tests were processed in Minnesota, suggesting a daily positivity rate of 3.5%.

The rolling seven-day average positivity rate has been declining since early April, when it surged to 7.5% as a result of the spread of a variant first reported in the U.K.

Earlier this month, the seven-day average positivity rate dropped below 5%, which is what health officials consider the threshold for caution. As of last week, the rate was down to 4.2%.

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Among the ways the state is incentivizing vaccinations is partnering with sports teams. On Tuesday evening, for instance, shots will be available at Target Field for Minnesota Twins fans watching the game against the Baltimore Orioles.