The Minnesota State Fairgrounds will become a COVID-19 mass vaccination site with enough doses to vaccinate more than 100,000 people.
Gov. Tim Walz and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Monday that shots will begin at the iconic Falcon Heights location on April 14.
"We've been pushing for a federal vaccination site, and I'm grateful the Biden-Harris Administration delivered on my request," Walz said. "This site will help us protect some of the Minnesotans hardest hit by this pandemic as we continue to break down every barrier between each Minnesotan and their life-saving shot."
An appointment will be required to get vaccinated at the fairgrounds. People will be selected from those who have signed up on the state's vaccine connector website.
The move comes as vaccinators reported another 38,659 Minnesotans have received at least one COVID-19 dose, bringing the total to 1,808,949, which is about 40% of the state population over age 15.
State health officials reported 1,385 new COVID-19 cases and 10 additional deaths, including seven who were long-term care residents.
The daily numbers represent reports that were sent to the state on Saturday, but were not disclosed by the state health agency due to the Easter holiday.
The daily case counts, deaths and vaccinations that will be published Tuesday will include information received by the state on Sunday and Monday.
Since the pandemic began, 527,650 state residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,885 have died from complications of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 30% since one week ago, with 448 patients in the state's hospitals, including 110 requiring intensive care.
Minnesota will receive 168,000 doses for vaccinations at the State Fairgrounds, which will operate for eight weeks. Those doses are in addition to the vaccine allocations that will be sent to the state.
State and federal officials said the fairgrounds site will place the highest priority on those who live in one of 38 ZIP codes within Hennepin and Ramsey counties that rank highest on a social vulnerability index developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The index accounts for poverty, unemployment, minority status and other factors.
"We're proud to work with the whole federal family, and the state of Minnesota, to open this federal vaccination site at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The site will greatly expand and expedite vaccine to the most underserved and vulnerable populations," said Kevin M. Sligh, acting regional administrator, FEMA Region 5.
In addition to the fairgrounds, about 1,000 doses each day will be shipped to clinics in the designated ZIP codes.
Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192