Live updates: COVID-19 cases, trends in Minnesota

Here are the latest developments with COVID-19 spread in Minnesota and Wisconsin, vaccine distribution, restrictions, and the return to schools for some students.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Thursday, Jan. 28  

  • New Minnesota COVID cases back over 1,300 based on high testing volume
  • State opens mass vaccination site in St. Paul for educators only
  • More than 300,000 Minnesotans now have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose
  • Minnesota tiger at The Wildcat Sanctuary diagnosed with COVID-19
  • First known case of Brazil COVID-19 variant in U.S. discovered in Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz visited a community vaccination clinic northwest of the Twin Cities metro on Thursday.

The governor walked around chatting with people who were receiving a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, thanking them for their patience in waiting for the vaccine rollout to reach them.

One woman who was there to receive a vaccine commented, “Hallelujah. It feels like Christmas, Easter and everything.”

While he toured, Gov. Walz told one person that Minnesota is getting 16% more doses next week. He said in general the predictability is increasing with federal allocations, and state officials can see three weeks ahead to determine their incoming supply.

For a second consecutive day new COVID-19 cases across the state are trending higher, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

Health officials say 1,335 additional people have been reported in the last day as testing positive, based on results from 47,725 tests (42,564 PCR, 5,161 antigen) processed in private and state labs. A positive PCR test is considered a confirmed case by MDH, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case. 

On Monday and Tuesday new cases were under 800, and by Wednesday they had popped up to 851. 

Testing volume reported Thursday was more than double Wednesday’s amount. Minnesota’s total positive COVID cases are up to 458,633 since the pandemic began, with 19,581 of those cases tied to antigen tests. 

An additional 16 people have died from the virus, bringing the state total to 6,140. Of those deaths 3,900, or 63% of them are associated with long-term care or assisted living settings. 

As of Tuesday the number of Minnesotans who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine has reached 320,347, and that number should go up steadily as the state increases efforts to vaccinate residents 65 and older. MDH says 85,217 people have completed the two-shot vaccine series. 

Total hospitalizations in the state due to coronavirus are up to 24,126 since the pandemic began, with 5,015 of those patients requiring care in the ICU. 

MDH says 442,600 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have improved to the point they no longer require isolation. 

Young adults make up the largest groupings of COVID cases among Minnesotans, with people between 20 and 24 accounting for 46,168 cases and three deaths, and those 25 to 29 numbering 41,253 cases and six deaths. 

The largest age demographic of deaths involves people between 85 and 89, with 1,169 fatalities in just 6,013 diagnosed cases. 

More females have tested positive for the virus than males by a small margin, with 235,633 cases to 220,788 for men. 

Hennepin County remains the busiest county in the state when it comes to COVID activity with 95,126 cases and 1,513 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 40,916 cases and 756 deaths, Dakota County with 33,846 cases and 358 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,580 cases and 369 fatalities. 

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota reports the least COVID activity with just 116 cases and zero deaths since the pandemic began. 

RELATED: In a sign of the times, Roy Wilkins Auditorium converts into mass vaccination site

Both deaths from COVID-19 and new cases of the virus show a slight uptick, according to data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

State health officials say 18 lives were reported lost in the last day, after two consecutive days of single-digit deaths. Total coronavirus fatalities in Minnesota since the pandemic began now sit at 6,124. Of those deaths 3,887, or 63% of them are tied to long-term care or assisted living settings. 

MDH says 851 new COVID cases were recorded, based on 20,899 tests (15,620 PCR, 5,279 antigen) processed in private and state labs. Health experts consider a positive PCR test a confirmed COVID case, while a positive antigen test is considered a probable case. 

Testing volume was nearly double Tuesday’s totals.

Minnesota’s total positive cases have reached 457,317, with 19,375 of those based on antigen tests. 

The state vaccination effort has passed another milestone with more than 300,000 Minnesotans having received at least one vaccine dose (301,290). The vaccine dashboard says 73,304 people have completed the two-shot series. MDH says health providers have administered 95% of the vaccine they’ve received within seven days time. That does not include second doses that cannot be administered due to a patient’s mandatory wait time. 

MDH data shows the number of hospital beds being used to treat COVID patients continues to drop slowly, with 477 being used statewide as of Tuesday (97 beds in ICU). Bed availability is holding steady at hospitals in the Twin Cities metro, with just 3.5% of non-ICU beds available, and ICU bed availability at 8.7%. 

Total hospitalizations have climbed to 24,073, with ICU patients now exceeding the 5,000 mark (5,004).

Of those Minnesotans who have been diagnosed with COVID at one time, 441,740 have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

The largest COVID-19 case grouping involves young adults ages 20 to 24, with 46,071 cases and three deaths, followed by those 25 to 29 with 41,116 cases ad six deaths. People between 85 and 89 make up the largest group of fatalities with 1,167 deaths in 5,996 diagnosed cases. 

Hennepin County has recorded the most COVID activity in the state with 94,872 cases and 1,509 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 40,815 cases and 753 deaths, Dakota County with 33,748 cases and 357 deaths, and Anoka County with 31,494 cases and 369 fatalities. 

Cook County in northeastern Minnesota remains quiet on the COVID front, with just 116 diagnosed cases and zero deaths.

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit for comprehensive coverage, and for answers to all of your questions about the race to get the U.S. vaccinated. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: 

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at

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