The state of Minnesota reported on Saturday, Jan. 16, that another 1,529 people in the state have tested positive for COVID-19.
About 46% of those cases were in people of Greater Minnesota and outside the seven-county region of the metro. Nearly 19,800 Minnesotans were needing to isolate due to positive tests as of Saturday.
Thirty-seven more Minnesotans have died from COVID-19 and its complications, putting the state's death toll at 5,887. Just under half of the new deaths were in Greater Minnesota. Residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities made up 22 of the deaths reported Saturday.
Completed COVID-19 diagnostic tests were up by nearly 30,800. The state's daily testing positivity rate was just under 5%. The daily testing positivity rate is the percentage of tests that come back positive. Health officials widely view 5% and above as the threshold for widespread community transmission.
As of Jan. 13, more than 174,000 Minnesotans had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Of those people, more than 32,000 have completed their vaccine series of two shots. The state updates its vaccine data every day with data from a few days prior.
On Friday, Jan. 15, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, along with the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan, sent a letter to the federal government asking it to either release more vaccines to the states or grant states the permission to purchase vaccines directly from manufacturers.
"It has become abundantly clear that not only has the Trump administration botched the rollout of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, but also that the American people have been misled about these delays," the letter read. "Pfizer just announced that as of (Thursday), they have millions of doses of the vaccine on hand and are waiting on addresses from the Trump administration so they can deliver the vaccine to states."
The letter warned that without additional supply, the states may be forced to cancel plans for public vaccination clinics in coming weeks.
On Jan. 7, eight governors, including Walz, sent a letter to the federal government asking the current president's administration to distribute the millions of vaccines believed at the time to be held in reserve, according to a news release from the governor's office.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service announced that it would release those doses, but a Washington Post article published Friday reported that those reserves had already been exhausted when the administration said it would release them.
In their Friday letter, the governors wrote that they had not received an increase in vaccine allocations from the federal government.
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- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.
- COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.