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State health officials announced 1,744 confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, the third consecutive day that new case reports topped 1,700.

Another four COVID-19 related deaths were also reported, including two who were long-term care residents.

Altogether, 513,833 state residents have been diagnosed with the coronavirus that causes the disease and 6,825 have died.

More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine shots have been administered so far in March — twice as many as were given in January.

About 28% of the state, or 1,557,636 people, have gotten at least one vaccine dose, with 936,222 receiving the complete series of shots.

"Getting vaccinated is going to get us back to doing the things we love and the things we've missed," said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

On Friday, state officials announced that all Minnesotans age 16 and over will become eligible for the shot beginning Tuesday, although appointment availability will be limited by supply.

"Being eligible on Tuesday doesn't mean you are necessarily going to get your vaccine in the next few days," Malcolm said. "But we are all in line."

Of the 2.4 million vaccine shots that have been given in the state, just 2.3% have been the one-dose vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson. The company has experienced manufacturing delays. Federal regulators recently gave the approval for the drugmaker to hire another company to package the vaccine and are considering another request to use another manufacturer to produce vaccine materials.

On Thursday, health officials reported 1,857 infections followed by 1,714 on Friday.

Saturday's new cases come on a test volume of 30,934, a 28% decrease from the previous day.

Minnesota's test positivity rate is inching toward 5%, a level that public health officials have set as a caution threshold.

Glenn Howatt • 612-673-7192