The number of Minnesotans to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine is nearing 700,000 as the number of cases continue to drop around the state.

“We are beginning to see the vaccine’s impact in protecting health care workers, first responders and the elderly in long-term care settings, but we need to remain cautious as we monitor new COVID-19 variants and work to prevent another surge in cases,” said Gov. Tim Walz in a press release where he announced he was extending the peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to the pandemic, including safely and effectively distributing the vaccine. “The peacetime emergency gives us the tools protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and deliver the vaccine in a way that is effective, safe, and equitable.”

Minnesota’s peacetime emergency gives the state the tools necessary for the timely acquisition of supplies and technology to support the vaccine effort. It also supports the expansion Minnesota’s testing capacity; protects Minnesotans against evictions and wage garnishment; provides expedited procurement power for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment; allows Minnesota to follow the advice of public health experts in combatting the spread of COVID-19; protects workers from unsafe worker conditions; requires Minnesotans to wear a face covering in certain settings to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and provides economic relief and stability to Minnesotans and small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

In a report sent out by Cass County Public Health, the number of cases over a two-week period dropped to 23. The current 14-day case rate fell to 7.93.

Minnesota’s death rate sits at 6,378 with Cass County remaining at 24. The total number of positive cases in Cass County is 2,086.

The number of deaths in Hubbard County is still 39, while the number of cases is 1,524. The 14-day case rate is 22.05.

Beltrami has 3,046 cases and 48 deaths, Crow Wing County has 4,986 cases and 80 deaths, and Itasca County has 2,965 cases and 45 deaths.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota is 474,169 with 460,537 no longer isolated. There were 11 confirmed deaths reported in the state last Wednesday, 24 Thursday, 19 Friday, seven Saturday, seven Sunday and two Monday.

Of all the confirmed cases in Minnesota, 37,253 are health care workers. The total number of people hospitalized over the last week is 169 with 24 in ICU.

The Minnesota Department of Health continues to encourage Minnesotans to get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick and to quarantine until the tests results are in. They also encourage Minnesotans to continue following public health guidance by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, frequently washing hands, and staying home when sick. Even if you do not have symptoms, you can spread the virus to others.

Call the Sanford Walker Clinic (218) 547-7700 or Sanford Bemidji Cass Lake Clinic (218) 333-2559 to schedule an appointment. Both the Essentia Health Park Rapids Clinic and Deer River Hospital have drive-up testing sites.

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