Minnesota on Tuesday reported another 12 COVID-19 deaths and 1,088 infections with the novel coronavirus that causes the respiratory disease.

While pandemic totals increased as a result to 7,091 COVID-19 deaths and 570,518 known infections in Minnesota, other statistical indicators continued to show an easing of the latest pandemic wave in the state. The seven-day average positivity rate of diagnostic testing, a key indicator of viral spread in Minnesota, has declined from a peak of 7.5% on April 8 to 6.6%

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 edged up from 613 on Sunday to 641 on Tuesday, fueled largely by middle-aged patients who have yet to be vaccinated against the infectious disease. But that total remains below the recent high of 699 on April 14.

The 12 deaths reported Tuesday included a first-grader from Marshall, Minn. The girl's death from COVID-19 complications on Sunday was the third to involve a child in Minnesota, but the first to not involve any known underlying health conditions or other complicating factors.

Gov. Tim Walz called the death "heartbreaking" in a statement released on Monday.

"As the vaccines help us turn the page on COVID-19, we can't forget that this is a deadly disease," he said. "It has taken over 7,000 Minnesotans' lives and it continues to persist in our communities."

Walz is scheduled to appear in Richfield Tuesday to highlight the use of buses converted into mobile vaccine clinics to increase access for Minnesotans.

The state on Tuesday reported that nearly 2.5 million people 16 and older have received COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota and more than 1.8 million have completed the one- or two-dose series. Roughly 56% of eligible Minnesotans, and 86% of senior citizens, have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Demand for vaccine appointments has declined somewhat, slowing the state's progress toward its goal of an 80% vaccination rate. Allina Health responded Tuesday by announcing that it was offering vaccine to anyone 16 or older, whether they are patients in the health system or not.

Clinics also are promoting access to teenagers, including those 16 to 17 who are eligible to receive the Pfizer version of the vaccine.

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744