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Live updates: New mask mandates in Twin Cities as MDH reports 71 new COVID deaths, over 4,000 new cases

Here is the latest data on Minnesota's battle against COVID-19, the delta and omicron variants and the efforts to increase vaccinations and testing across the state.

ST PAUL, Minn. —

  • MDH reports 71 new deaths and 4,149 new cases
  • St. Paul and Minneapolis announce mask mandates for businesses
  • FDA approves Pfizer boosters for children 12-15
  • School districts urge caution as students return to classrooms
  • MDH said 90% of cases can be attributed to omicron

Wednesday, Jan. 5

4 p.m.

Amid rising cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19, both St. Paul and Minneapolis mayors signed on to new mask requirements for local businesses and city buildings. 

Mask mandates for both cities go into effect on Thursday, Jan. 6 at 5 p.m.

In St. Paul, masks are required indoors at all times when social distancing of six feet or more can't be maintained inside city-controlled property or businesses licensed by the city. Masks can be removed for eating or drinking, and there are exceptions for young children at risk of suffocating or people who can't medically tolerate wearing a mask. 

In Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey's order affects all businesses within city limits and "places of public accommodation."

The order defines a place of public accommodation as "any indoor locations where members of the public may gather, visit, or patronize and can include, but are not limited to, bars, restaurants, museums, theaters, schools, recreational facilities, retail locations, and service offices."

You can read more about Mayor Carter's executive order on masking here. 

The full text of Mayor Frey's order can be read here. 

The Minneapolis mask mandate includes this upcoming Sunday's Vikings game against the Bears. Fans will be required to wear masks in U.S. Bank Stadium, according to an official. KARE 11 has reached out to U.S. Bank Stadium for clarification on how they'll enforce the requirement.

A statement from the Vikings said the organization will "continue to comply with state and local guidelines in the best interests of health and safety."

Read the full statement:

Due to the city-wide mask mandate announced today by Mayor Frey and the City of Minneapolis, fans attending Sunday’s Vikings-Bears game at U.S. Bank Stadium will be required to wear face coverings at all times inside the stadium, except when eating or drinking. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to comply with state and local guidelines in the best interests of health and safety.

11 a.m.

On Wednesday, MDH officials reported 71 new COVID deaths and 4,149 new cases in the state.

In Ramsey County alone, one person in their 20s died and two people in their 30s were part of the long list of new fatalities.

Minnesota's cumulative death total is at 10,671 since the pandemic began. 

Health officials say 5,183 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

The cumulative total COVID cases in the state is now at 1,049,310 since the start of the pandemic. 

Credit: KARE 11

According to MDH's latest data available, 1,405 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state, with 1,120 in non-ICU beds and 285 in the ICU. 

Hospital bed space continues to be sparse across the state. 

There are no staffed pediatric ICU and non-ICU beds available in the central portion of the state.

In the metro, there are six staffed pediatric ICU beds but just one staffed adult ICU bed available.

Credit: KARE 11

MDH reported 8,783,387 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,764,738 people age 5 and older having received at least one shot (72.2%). Of that number 3,530,683 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (67.7%).

Credit: KARE 11
Credit: KARE 11

Among children 5-11 years old, 163,430 kids have at least one shot (32%) and 123,082 have completed their vaccine series (24%).

Credit: KARE 11

The state vaccine dashboard says of the total doses that have been administered in Minnesota, 59.5% are Pfizer, 36.7% are Moderna and 3.8% are Johnson & Johnson.

Watch more on the coronavirus:

Watch the latest reports and updates on the coronavirus pandemic in Minnesota with our YouTube playlist:

Tuesday, Jan. 4

3 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said approximately 90% of positive COVID-19 cases coming in are of the omicron variant.

MDH told KARE 11 it analyzed a data sample from more than 12,000 positive tests, finding a little more than 11,000 had the "S-gene target failure," a characteristic found within the omicron variant, but not delta.

Meanwhile, December 2021 proved to be the deadliest month in the year for COVID-19 in Minnesota.

1,134 deaths associated with COVID-19 were reported during the month of December. January 2021 had the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths with 877. 

Dec. 2021 still isn't as high as the 2020 winter surge where the month of December of that year saw 1,730 reported deaths from COVID-19.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is reporting a high number of COVID-19 cases over the holiday weekend (through Monday), likely due to the fast-spreading omicron variant.

Officials announced Tuesday that the number of cases in the state has increased by 16,204, which is four days of data.

MDH no longer shares data on weekends, so numbers released on Tuesdays reflect reports from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday.

The cumulative total cases (including reinfections) in Minnesota is now at 1,045,170 since the start of the pandemic.

Thirty-six people died, bringing the cumulative COVID-19 death total to 10,600 since the pandemic began. 

The new fatalities reported include a person in their 20s in Dakota County and a person in their 30s in Douglas County. 

Health officials say 5,168 deaths have taken place in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

According to MDH's latest data available, 1,370 people are being treated for COVID in hospitals around the state, with 1,077 in non-ICU beds and 293 in the ICU.

ICU bed space continues to be low across the state. 

There are no staffed pediatric ICU beds available in the central portion of the state, and just three beds open in the metro.

Total hospitalizations since the arrival of COVID have risen to 51,145. 

MDH says 8,765,099 total doses of vaccine have been administered in the state, with 3,761,946 people age 5 and older having received at least one shot (72.2%). Of that number 3,526,903 people have completed their COVID series and are considered completely vaccinated (67.7%).

Among children 5-11 years old, 162,467 kids have at least one shot (32%) and 121,000 have completed their vaccine series (24%).

The state vaccine dashboard says of the total doses that have been administered in Minnesota, 59.5% are Pfizer, 36.7% are Moderna and 3.8% are Johnson & Johnson.