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COVID In Minnesota: Positivity Rate Creeps Back Up To 4%; MDH Has New Guidance For Long-Term Care

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With newly relaxed restrictions now in effect, the Minnesota Department of Health says that we'll pass the 500,000 total confirmed cases benchmark as soon as Thursday.

With 1,046 newly-reported cases, the current total of positive cases stands at 499,962. There have also been seven more deaths, bringing the state's total to 6,756.

According to Minnesota's health department, Minnesota processed 20,548 COVID tests within the last 24 hours. Since the pandemic began, more than 3.5 million Minnesotans have been tested.

The positivity rate has seen a small uptick to about 4%, however it's remained under the 5% threshold for the last month. Anything above 5% would be considered cause for caution.

Hospitalization figures continue to hold steady with only about 4.7 new daily hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, according to the latest rolling average.

As of Tuesday, Minnesota has administered almost 2 million doses of vaccine, with about 747,000 people having completed the entire vaccine series. Just shy of 1.3 million Minnesotans, or about 23% of the state's overall population, have received at least one dose.

Last week, vaccine eligibility expanded weeks ahead of schedule after reaching the goal of vaccinating 70% of seniors. The current tally indicates that 76% of seniors in Minnesota are now vaccinated.

MDH Releases New Guidance For Long-Term Care Facilities

Also pertaining to seniors, the MDH released new guidance for long-term care facilities, saying that residents who are fully vaccinated no longer need to quarantine after non-medically necessary outings unless they've spent 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period within six feet of someone who could spread COVID. Residents who have been fully vaccinated can also gather indoors with other people who are fully vaccinated.

As for receiving outside visitors, residents should be able to have private visits if they're fully vaccinated, can have close contact with their visitor while wearing a mask and sanitizing hands before and after.

Unvaccinated residents who leave the building to gather with others might still be required to quarantine.

On Monday, the latest "dial turn" on COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, including allowing thousands of fans in stadiums — a move Gov. Tim Walz said represents Minnesota's progress towards normalcy after the pandemic has upended daily life for a year.

As of now, bars and restaurants are able to increase operations to 75% capacity; gyms will be able to operate at 50% capacity; and there will no longer be any limits for salons and religious services. Social distancing is still required and the 11 p.m. curfew at restaurants remains in place.

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