May 28 update on COVID-19 in MN: New cases ebbing; statewide COVID curbs ending

A woman receives a vaccine.
CentraCare Health nurse Dawn Conklin preps Sister Chinh Nguyen before administering the COVID-19 vaccination shot Friday, Feb. 5 at St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minn. The CentraCare Health mobile vaccination strike team set up a clinic at St. Benedict's Monastery to provide vaccinations for more than 100 members of the community.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News

3 things to know

  • New case trend lowest since July; hospital admissions lowest in more than two months

  • 64.2 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older with at least one vaccine dose; 58.1 percent — more than 2.5 million people — now completely vaccinated

  • Gov. Tim Walz rolls out shot incentives; statewide COVID-19 restrictions come to an end

Updated 11:55 a.m.

If you’re looking for more signs that Minnesota’s COVID-19 pandemic is firmly in retreat, Friday is a good day.

All remaining statewide COVID-19 capacity limits on bars, restaurants and other public gathering spaces are ending in time for Memorial Day weekend. Businesses and local governments can still continue restrictions, but the state mandate is lifted.

Meanwhile, new daily cases are trending at their lowest level since just after the Fourth of July. Active cases have receded to mid-September levels. Hospital admissions and intensive care cases are falling.

Hospitalizations, active cases receding

After an anxious April, the evidence seems clear that Minnesota’s spring surge is over.

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Friday’s Health Department report shows the count of known, active COVID-19 cases stayed below 5,000 for the third straight day, the first time that’s happened since mid-September. Active cases are down 75 percent from their most recent high of around 20,000 in mid-April.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

There were 316 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota; 77 needed intensive care. Both figures continue to trend down from their April peaks. The count of intensive care patients is at its lowest point since March. Five weeks ago, more than 200 people were in ICUs.

New hospital admissions are also trending at their lowest point in more than two months.

Graph of new ICU and non-ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations

Five newly reported deaths put Minnesota’s pandemic toll at 7,408. Among those who have died, about 60 percent had been living in long-term care or assisted-living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

The state has recorded 600,767 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 364 posted Friday — the 14th consecutive day of fewer than 1,000 new cases. The seven-day new case average is down to a level last seen around the Fourth of July.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

About 98 percent of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to isolate.

Regionally, all parts of Minnesota are in better shape than they were in late November and early December. Case counts had crept up across the state during April, but the trend is clearly on the slide.

New COVID-19 cases by Minnesota region

People in their 20s still make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — more than 111,000 since the pandemic began. The number of high school-age youth confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 49,000 15-to-19-year-olds known to be infected during the pandemic.

Although young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry they can spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations. Those with the COVID-19 virus can spread it when they don’t have symptoms.

Vaccination pace wobbly

After a roller coaster few months, the seven-day vaccination trend had been stabilizing at around 40,000 shots a day. Friday’s data, though, shows that pace down to 30,000, making it more likely the recent 40,000 rate was an anomaly driven by a backlog of shot data.

Newly reported COVID-19 vaccine doses in Minnesota

More than 2.8 million residents 16 and older now have at least one vaccine dose. More than 2.5 million have completed their vaccinations as of Friday’s update.

That works out to about 58.1 percent of the 16-and-older population completely vaccinated and 64.2 percent with at least one shot, including 89 percent of those 65 and older.

Graph showing when Minnesota is on target to vaccinated 70% of adults

Minnesota’s also seeing notable growth in the number of children ages 12 to 15 getting vaccinated since mid-May, when federal authorities approved the Pfizer vaccine for use at those ages.

Health Department data shows more than 70,000 Minnesota 12-to-15-year-olds with at least one dose. That’s nearly one-quarter of that population already with at least one shot.

Graph projecting when most Minnesotans will get vaccinated
Projections by MPR News data reporter David Montgomery

State public health leaders have been pleading with those still not vaccinated to get their shots. Eligible Minnesotans can now walk in for a COVID-19 vaccination without an appointment at the state’s community vaccination program locations.

With the disease data solid, state officials are pushing now to boost another set of numbers around vaccinations. Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday rolled out incentives, including state park passes and Minnesota State Fair tickets, to nudge unvaccinated Minnesotans to get their shots.

Officials are pressing now to have at least 70 percent of the state’s 16-and-older population vaccinated with at least one dose by July 1.

COVID-19 in Minnesota

Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health's cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.