May 1—A Brown County resident in their late 70s was among 10 more deaths attributed to COVID-10 reported by the Minnesota Department of Health Saturday.
Brown County has now lost 40 residents to the virus and the death tolls stand at 236 for the nine-county region and 7,154 across the state.
The state has recorded nearly 578,000 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including 1,723 posted Saturday.
In most area counties, newly confirmed cases were in the single digits Saturday, combining for 49 cases total. Blue Earth County has seen daily increases of more than 20 for nearly two weeks.
For the second time this week Sibley County had no new cases.
But Sibley County lags behind others in the region in vaccination rates, with 43% of its eligible residents at least partially vaccinated. Brown County maintains the highest area rate of eligible residents with at least one vaccine dose: 61%. Blue Earth County inched up 1% to 54% in Saturday's data report.
Minnesota's vaccination pace remains relatively flat as officials work now to reach out to those who haven't been vaccinated.
58% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and about 44% are completely vaccinated.
Gov. Tim Walz is expected to loosen more restrictions on public gathering places next week, likely increasing capacity limits for bars, restaurants and other venues.
"There's probably only a couple turns left," on the state's reopening dial, Walz told reporters on Friday. He predicted the Minnesota State Fair in August would be "a pretty close to normal event" this year after COVID-19 canceled it in 2020.
"Everything looks to me on the horizon, in the way the vaccine is going and the way the virus is responding," he said.
The count of known, active cases across Minnesota came in at 15,156 in Saturday's numbers. That is higher than earlier in the week 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.
Confirmed cases reported locally were:
—Blue Earth County: 25
—Nicollet County: 8
—Le Sueur County: 4
—Martin County: 4
—Faribault County: 3
—Waseca County: 2
—Watonwan County: 2
—Brown County: 1