Low COVID-19 case trend continues Wednesday

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Jun. 9—MANKATO — Four counties in south-central Minnesota combined for five newly confirmed COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

The total continued a trend of small case upticks since late May. Area counties haven't combined for more than eight new cases since May 28, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

There were also no new COVID-19 deaths confirmed in the region Wednesday, keeping the nine-county region's pandemic toll at 245.

Minnesota had eight more COVID-19 deaths confirmed statewide. The state's pandemic death toll rose to 7,477.

Faribault County accounted for two of the five new cases in south-central Minnesota. Le Sueur, Sibley and Martin counties each had one.

A total of 101,710 residents age 16 or older in the nine-county region are now completely vaccinated, equaling about 54.3% of that population. About 58.1% of the 16-and-older population have at least one dose, or 108,733 people.

There were 150 new cases confirmed statewide in Wednesday's update, with the trend hovering at or near levels not seen since the earliest months of the pandemic. Known, active cases remain below 2,000 and at their lowest point since April 2020.

Hospital and intensive care needs have fallen to a fraction of what they were a month ago. Fewer than 200 people are hospitalized now with COVID-19, the first time that's happened since last summer.

State public health leaders worried throughout the pandemic that Minnesota hospitals would be overwhelmed by a crush of COVID-19 patients needing treatment or an ICU bed. Those worries have all but abated in recent weeks.

The latest health department report shows 192 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, 54 in intensive care. Both figures continue to slide from their spring peaks. In late April, hospitalizations were approaching 700 people, with more than 200 in ICUs.

Average daily hospital admissions have fallen by more than half over the past month. ICU admissions are trending at their lowest levels since near the start of the pandemic in Minnesota.

While those disease metrics remain solid, the vaccination rate has slowed to a crawl, making it extremely unlikely the state will reach its goal of getting at least one vaccine dose into 70% of the state's 16-and-older population by July 1.

Statewide, about 65.4% of the 16-and-older population has at least one dose and 60.3% of the population is completely vaccinated.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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