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Apr. 30—MANKATO — There were 79 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday in the Mankato region and no additional deaths.
Compared to the last couple of days, the case numbers are down by a few in the nine-county area.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,634 new cases statewide Friday and 16 additional deaths.
Minnesota's COVID-19 report on the last day of April looks much better than just a few weeks ago, but officials continue to urge residents to stay vigilant against spreading the disease.
The overall trends still look solid following a rising caseload wave in early April, enough so that Gov. Tim Walz in coming days is expected to loosen some curbs on public gathering spaces.
Public health leaders remain concerned about the flattening pace of vaccinations and what seems to be a wavering public will around mask wearing and other COVID-19 precautions.
They continue to implore Minnesotans to keep their guard up during proms, graduations and other spring events, noting the more contagious COVID-19 variant.
Officials also recently confirmed 22 COVID-19 cases linked to recent protests in Brooklyn Center over the police killing of Daunte Wright. Half of those cases were found among law enforcement. The health department urged anyone at the protests to get tested.
Overall, conditions in Minnesota have improved to the point Gov. Tim Walz is expected to loosen more restrictions on public gathering places, likely next week.
The count of known, active cases came in at 15,638 in Friday's numbers, higher than the prior day but down from the most recent peak of about 20,000 in mid-April. The seven-day trend line is at its lowest point in more than three weeks.
The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive remains just below the 5% threshold that experts find concerning.
Hospitalizations had been climbing the past few weeks, hovering at levels not seen since January.
Friday's numbers showed 619 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota; 166 needed intensive care. Both figures are down from the prior week. Hospitalizations can often stay higher for several weeks following an increase in active cases.
Sixteen deaths reported Friday brought Minnesota's pandemic toll to 7,144.
The full list of new cases by county includes:
—Blue Earth County — 25
—Brown County — 5
—Faribault County — 1
—Le Sueur County — 7
—Martin County — 17
—Nicollet County — 9
—Sibley County — 7
—Waseca County — 5
—Watonwan County — 3