Minnesota health officials announced another 1,306 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine deaths Friday.

Reports of new first and second doses increased by nearly 38,000, bringing the percentage of fully vaccinated state residents to 51.2% of those over the age of 15.

Minnesota begins its first day without a mask mandate, nearly 300 days after the mask order was issued last July.

It remains to be seen how businesses and local governments will react, but Minneapolis and St. Paul have already said that they will keep a mask requirement in place.

Metro Transit said that masks will still be required on buses, trains and at transit waiting areas under federal guidelines.

Health care and long-term care settings will also continue to require employees, patients and guests to wear masks.

"The new guidance loosens restrictions associated with wearing masks indoors in certain settings and does not include health care settings at this time," the Mayo Clinic said in a statement. "At Mayo Clinic, the requirement for masking in health care facilities remains in effect, and infection control is reviewing and updating our policies continuously."

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that as demand for COVID-19 vaccine has slowed, some vaccinators are requesting fewer doses.

"It's not to say that they are never going to need anymore, but they've got supply on hand now that they need to work through," Malcolm said.

This comes as health care systems pivot from larger vaccination clinics and instead keep vials in storage to offer to patients as they show up for regular primary care or urgent care visits.

But state officials have not yet turned away vaccines offered by the federal government and will request more of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"There was not a J & J allocation this week," Malcolm said, adding that it is ideally suited for community and mobile vaccination efforts.

Health care systems, pharmacies and community vaccination sites began giving shots to 12- to 15-year-olds Thursday after federal officials approved the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.

Minnesota officials said the state will be offering shots at its community vaccination sites at the Mall of America, Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Lino Lakes and Oakdale, which have the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments are not necessary as the sites take walk-ins, but a parent or guardian must be present.

The Pfizer vaccine has been the most used shot in Minnesota, with 2.6 million doses administered.

It also is the only vaccine approved for older teens. About 53,520 16- and 17-year-olds have received at least one dose.

Altogether, 2.7 million Minnesotans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while 2.3 million are fully vaccinated.

The pandemic has infected 592,750 state residents and led to the deaths of 7,283. Among the new deaths, three were long-term care residents.

Hospitalization for COVID-19 complications stood at 464 on Thursday, with 123 in intensive care. One week ago, there were 560 COVID-19 patients, with 144 in intensive care.

Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192