MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A day after an announced expansion in COVID-19 testing capacity statewide, Minnesota health officials on Wednesday reported 71 additional deaths and 4,149 more virus cases.

According to the daily update from the health department, of the newly reported deaths, most occurred in December. Two Ramsey County residents in their late-30s and another in their 20s were among those who died. Total deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 10,671.

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Total positive cases now stand at 1,049,310 since the pandemic began, with 16,913 of the cases being reinfections.

The latest positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average, continues to spike at an alarming rate. It went from 8.2% recorded in mid-December to 13.4% as of Dec. 28, due to data lag.

As demand for post-holiday testing remains high, state officials on Tuesday announced an expansion in testing that includes the opening of three more community testing sites, and an additional 1.8 million at-home rapid tests for students.

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Over 16.3 million tests have been completed since the pandemic began.

About 67.7% of the state’s total population has received at least one vaccine dose. Over 93% of seniors are fully vaccinated.

State health officials are advising those who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, and for those who are vaccinated to get their booster if eligible. Over 8.7 million total doses have been administered, 1.7 million of those being booster shots.

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