- Associated Press - Monday, March 8, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - More than 10% of Minnesotans have now gotten shots to guard against the coronavirus, but state health officials say the spread of a more contagious version of the pandemic makes it important to avoid spring break travel.

Dr. Ruth Lynfield, the state epidemiologist, pointed to recent infections in the state that highlight the risk of such travel. She said the state health department urges people to consider delaying nonessential travel.

Lynfield said people who must travel should follow safety guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including getting tested two to three days before leaving and avoiding contact with others for two weeks before the travel.

Minnesota has found 165 cases of a variant first identified in the United Kingdom last year that is more contagious.

Minnesota health officials on Monday reported 473 new positive COVID-19 tests and six deaths due to the coronavirus, raising the totals to 490,483 cases and 6,556 fatalities since the start of the pandemic.

With the latest numbers, the seven-day average for new cases stood at about 774. That’s well below the peak of November.

There were about 195 new cases per 100,000 people in Minnesota over the past two weeks, which ranks 37th in the country for new cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. One in every 1,036 people in Minnesota tested positive in the past week.

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