Even as Minnesota hits the one-million vaccination mark and eligibility expands to everyone 16 and older, the state’s COVID case-positive rate is back over the five-percent caution threshold:

5.2 percent of new tests for COVID-19 are coming back positive, significantly less than the peak of over 15 percent in mid-November, but still of concern to state health officials.   They point to a substantial increase in cases attributable to COVID variants in some areas of Minnesota and stress, as the weather gets warmer, it’s still important to mask-up and social-distance. One report show mask-wearing in public is down slightly from February, at 74 percent. The big question: Will the expected ramp-up in vaccinations counteract any possible new spike in cases due to COVID variants?