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The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — There was one additional death from COVID-19 in the nine-county area, state health officials reported Thursday.

The Blue Earth County resident was between the ages of 65 and 69.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported seven deaths statewide.

The local nine-county area had just four new COVID cases reported Thursday — two in Watonwan County and one each in Martin and Blue Earth counties. Just five cases were reported in the area Wednesday.

There were 143 new COVID-19 cases reported Thursday in Minnesota.

Thursday’s COVID-19 numbers show some of the key disease indicators at or near their lowest levels in the pandemic. Newly reported cases and known, active cases are trending at their the lowest since April 2020. Hospitalizations are a fraction of what they were a month ago.

The vaccination pace, though, continues to crawl, making it extremely unlikely the state will reach its goal of getting at least one vaccine dose into 70 percent of the state’s 16-and-older population by July 1.

The basic numbers around the pandemic continue to look good.

The state has averaged 211 new cases a day over the past seven reporting days, the lowest since April 2020. Five weeks ago, that count topped 1,500 a day.

The count of known, active COVID-19 cases came in at 1,617, with the the seven-day average falling below 2,000 for the first time since April 2020. On May 1, Minnesota had more than 15,000 known, active cases. At one point in November, it topped 50,000.

The health department Thursday reported 203 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota, with 56 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 during the past month or so. ICU admissions are trending at their lowest levels since near the start of the pandemic.

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