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COVID-19 Update In MN: Community Spread Still 'High Risk' As MDH Reports 1,000+ More Cases, 12 New Deaths

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As federal health officials announce relaxed outdoor mask guidance, Minnesota's health department on Tuesday reported 1,088 more cases and 12 more deaths linked to COVID-19.

The update from the Minnesota Department of Health comes as the state's positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average, sits at 6.6% as of April 18, due to data lag. It's still in the "caution" status, but the rate has been decreasing since a recent peak of 7.4% was recorded on April 9.

Patients currently in intensive care units with the virus have also been decreasing in numbers following an uptick, down to 184 as of Monday. That's compared to 202 patients in the ICU recorded on April 22. There are 457 patients needing non-ICU beds as of Monday.

Community spread continues to be a concern and about 43% of cases of COVID-19 have been reported with no known source of exposure, according to the most recent data. Health officials are urging vaccination to combat the spread, as well as testing, face masks, social distancing and washing hands frequently.

Over 2.4 million Minnesotans have received at least one vaccine dose, or about 56% of the eligible population. Over 1.8 million Minnesotans, over 41% of the eligible population, have completed their vaccine series.

Minnesota will soon again be administering the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, after federal officials lifted the pause on the vaccine due to extremely rare cases of blood clots. Health experts say the risks from getting COVID-19 -- including getting blood clots due to the virus -- are higher than the rare risk associated with the vaccine. A safety warning will be handed out at vaccine sites.

Also on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed guidance on outdoor masking. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated Americans can resume some outdoor activities without wearing masks, including gathering in small groups.

There have been 570,518 cases of COVID-19 recorded in Minnesota since the pandemic began, with total deaths approaching 7,100.

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