June 14 update on COVID-19 in MN: Cases keep falling 1 month after end of mask mandate

A nurse fills a syringe with a vaccine dose.
Afton Bonin, director of nursing at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 25 at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News file

3 things to know

  • Only 118 new cases posted Monday; average daily case counts at lowest since April 2020

  • 65.8 percent of 16-and-older population with at least one vaccine shot; 61.3 percent completely vaccinated

  • At current pace, state may not meet goal of 70 percent vaccinated adults until August

Updated: 12:04 p.m.

Minnesota’s key COVID-19 numbers continue to percolate at or around their lowest levels since the earliest months of the pandemic.

New and active cases continue to recede a month after Minnesota ended its statewide masking requirement. Officials had worried the end of the masking mandate might lead to an uptick in cases, but so far it hasn’t happened. Only 118 new cases were reported Monday.

The vaccination pace, though, continues to crawl, and the state is showing some big regional divides in vaccination rates.

New, active cases trend at April 2020 lows

Overall, the basic numbers around the pandemic remain very encouraging.

The state’s averaged 156 new cases a day over the past seven reporting days, the lowest since April 2020. Known, active cases of the disease came in at 1,403, continuing to over at April 2020 lows.

How quickly have conditions improved? On May 1, Minnesota was averaging more than 1,500 new cases daily and had more than 15,000 known, active cases.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

COVID-19 hospitalizations also continue to slide from their spring peaks. The Health Department reported 178 people hospitalized in Minnesota as of Friday, with 48 in intensive care.

Since data started being reliably tracked last summer, there have never been fewer people hospitalized in Minnesota with COVID-19.

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

Five deaths newly reported on Monday pushed Minnesota’s pandemic toll to 7,517. 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 603,876 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including the 118 posted Monday.

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 — more than 111,000 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.

Vaccination pace stumbles along

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 works out to about 61.3 percent completely vaccinated and 65.8 percent with at least one shot, including 90 percent of people 65 and older.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

The vaccination pace, however, is tripping along now after free-falling from its April peak. If the pace continues to languish, it will be early August before the state reaches 70 percent of adults with at least one shot.

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

Officials recently noted that more than 70 percent of the 16-and-older population in the Twin Cities metropolitan area had received at least one vaccine dose, but that the rate was below 60 percent in much of the rest of the state, creating a concerning urban-rural vaccination gap.

Map of Minnesota COVID-19 adult vaccination rate

Minnesota has seen 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 95,000 12-to-15-year-olds with at least one dose, about one-third of that population. The pace, though, has fallen following an early surge.

The latest available data also shows just under 70 percent of Minnesotans of Asian descent have been vaccinated. Given the reporting lag for data on race and ethnicity, it’s likely that population has already become the first to cross the 70-percent threshold.

Chart of vaccinations by race

Latest Developments

Walz extends emergency power, possibly for last time

Gov. Tim Walz on Monday made what could be a final extension of his peacetime emergency around COVID-19.

The emergency declaration frees up more federal aid for nutrition programs and allows for flexible operations of vaccination and testing programs. Almost all restrictions on businesses have been lifted already.

The executive council of top statewide officeholders signed off on the 30-day renewal.

Vaccinations and coronavirus immunity should stamp out serious spread of the disease at this point but there could be places where infection rates climb back up, Walz said.

— Brian Bakst | MPR News

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.

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