June 24 update on COVID-19 in MN: Pandemic data solid; vaccination pace limps

A man puts a needle in a glass vial.
Pharmacy intern Joseph Ahenkorah draws a dose of COVID-10 vaccine in December 2020 as he vaccinates residents at the long-term care facility, Gardens of Episcopal Homes in St. Paul.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News 2020

3 things to know

  • Active cases stay below 1,000

  • Hospital admissions trending at lowest point since early April 2020

  • 66.5 percent of residents 16 and older have at least one vaccine shot; 62.7 percent completely vaccinated

Updated: 11:51 a.m.

Thursday’s COVID-19 data continues to paint a picture of a pandemic in check in Minnesota. New cases, active cases and hospital admission levels are trending at or near pandemic lows.

The only downside: The vaccination rate remains at a relative trickle, so much so that it will likely be mid-August now before the state reaches its goal of getting at least one shot into 70 percent of residents 16 and older.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

COVID-19 watchers are keeping an eye out now for any upswings as the state approaches June 28, marking one month since Minnesota ended all remaining statewide COVID-19 capacity limits on bars, restaurants and other public gathering spaces.

So far, though, the signs are all good. One key indicator — the rate of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 — is trending at around 1 percent, far below the 5 percent threshold that triggers officials’ concerns about the virus spreading.

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Pandemic metrics hover near April 2020 lows

Known, active COVID-19 cases in Minnesota came in at 930 in Thursday’s data, staying below 1,000 for the fourth straight reporting day, part of a stunning drop over the past seven weeks. On May 1, Minnesota had more than 15,000 active cases.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

The state’s averaged about 111 newly reported cases a day over the past week. Both newly reported and active caseloads are hovering around lows reaching back to April 2020.

Receding caseloads mean fewer hospitalizations. The Health Department reported 117 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota — down by more than half from the start of this month — with 32 needing an intensive care unit bed.

In late November, the state was admitting nearly 300 new COVID-19 hospital patients daily. Now, it’s averaging just under 15 a day, the lowest since early April 2020.

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

Six newly reported deaths on Thursday pushed Minnesota’s pandemic toll to 7,561. Among those who have died, about 59 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 604,879 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 138 posted Thursday.

New COVID-19 cases per day in Minnesota

About 99 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.

Case counts had crept up across the state during April following a massive spike in late November and early December. Now, though, the numbers are low and falling in every age group and region.

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 — about 112,000 since the pandemic began.

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.

3 million vaccinated, but pace crawls

More than 2.9 million residents 16 and older now have at least one vaccine dose. More than 2.7 million are completely vaccinated. That’s about 62.7 percent completely vaccinated and 66.5 percent — nearly two-thirds — with at least one shot, including 90 percent of people 65 and older.

Add in the more than 102,000 12-to-15-year-olds with at least one dose and Minnesota has topped 3 million residents with one or more shots. More than half the state’s total population is now completely vaccinated.

A line chart.

The vaccination pace, however, is sputtering. At the current rate, it will be mid-August before the state reaches 70 percent of adults with at least one shot, a goal public health leaders once hoped could by reached by the end of June.

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

Minnesota’s also seeing big regional gaps in vaccination rates, with most counties outside the Twin Cities region still below 70 percent.

Map of Minnesota COVID-19 eligible vaccination rate

Top headlines from MPR News

As cases decline, 3 COVID-19 testing sites are closing: Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all abating, and so is demand for COVID-19 testing. State officials are shuttering three Twin Cities COVID-19 testing sites as a result.

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.