More than 695,000 people in Minnesota have received COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest state figures on Wednesday, including nearly 25% of teachers and 40% of senior citizens.
State health officials said the updates represent progress in Minnesota amid plans to reopen more schools to in-person learning over the next month.
"Thanks to vaccines and the hard work of so many people we are getting closer to the end of this pandemic," said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner.
Of the 695,629 people who have received some COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota, 246,431 have completed the two-dose series. The state has prioritized limited initial doses for health care workers, long-term care facility residents, educators and senior citizens.
The vaccination progress comes amid declining spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths and 783 infections — bringing the state's totals to 6,390 fatalities and 475,379 infections.
The positivity rate of diagnostic testing — a key measure of viral spread in Minnesota — has dropped below the 5% caution threshold to 3.7%. The number of Minnesota hospital intensive care beds filled with COVID-19 patients has declined to 54 from a peak of 399 on Dec. 1.
State health officials remain concerned about the emergence of more infectious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, though. State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann on Tuesday said genomic sequencing analysis in Minnesota has detected 40 cases of COVID-19 involving a more infectious variant first found in the United Kingdom.
Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744