State health officials Monday announced 1,197 new COVID-19 cases along with no new reports of pandemic-related deaths.

Minnesota inched closer to 2.5 million state residents receiving at least one dose of the vaccine, with a total of 2,459,629, or 56% of the 16 and older population, getting the shot.

More than 1.8 million have completed the recommended number of vaccine doses.

A total of 569,440 Minnesotans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 7,079 have died.

COVID-19 hospitalizations have begun to inch down, with 613 patients receiving care for complications of the coronavirus on Sunday. That's a 12% decrease from one week ago.

Of those, 179 were in intensive care, a drop from the recent high of 202 three days ago.

State health officials this week could announce some shifts in its vaccine distribution strategy. Among them could be a relaxation of the goal that 90% of all doses should be administered within three days.

Although most vaccinators have been meeting that goal, some say it hampers their flexibility to do outreach to underserved groups.

"It is that three-day window that we've been wanting more flexibility on," said Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 vaccine allocation and distribution work group.

If a vaccinator receives a shipment of vaccines on Tuesday, the three-day goal is a disincentive to hold a community vaccination clinic on Saturday, which is four days away.

As appointment slots are getting harder to fill, providers want to make it easier for those who can't take time off from work or have transportation issues to get the vaccine and that means that some doses might take longer than three days to administer.

"For some providers that can be a challenge. That is a metric that we are really evaluating," said state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann.

Monday's new daily case count comes on a volume of 23,364 test results reported to the state Health Department.

Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192