ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz on Friday, April 30, said that a pre-coronavirus-style state fair could be in Minnesota's future.

The state still has a ways to go before that in terms of vaccinating against COVID-19, he cautioned, and the recent case growth among younger needs to be snuffed out.

But "everything looks to me on the horizon, the way the vaccine is going and the way that the virus is responding, that that should be a pretty close to normal event," Walz told reporters at a news conference Friday afternoon.

The governor's hint at the return of the Minnesota touchstone comes as the state's pandemic outlook appears to be improving. After a surge in infections, both the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive and the daily number of new cases per 100,000 residents have been trending downward.

Both are calculated on a rolling, seven-day average.

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However Minnesota's percent positivity rate still stands at 6.3%, according to recent State Department of Health figures, above the critical 5% threshold.

Walz didn't specify what targets Minnesota would have to hit in order to hold a fair and fair organizers couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday. But the governor's comments were in line with those of other elected officials who have touted the vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as the pandemic-killing key to a more normal summer.

President Joe Biden has made a goal of vaccinating enough of people to allow for more small gatherings by July 4, for example, something Walz said on Friday that Minnesota is "outpacing" the nation on.

The Minnesota State Fair attracts some 2 million guests annually and was among many summer tentpole events across the state and nation to be cancelled by the pandemic last year. The fairgrounds in St. Paul eventually opened for drive-through food service.

That it could resume is another sign that Minnesota leaders and health officials view the state's COVID-19 situation favorably, at least for the moment. Walz said that he may limits put in place on indoor capacity to curb the spread of COVID-19 may be rolled back next week as well.

The 2021 state fair will be Aug. 26 to Sept. 6.

Following are the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Friday. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 1,877
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 31.1 (As of Wednesday, April 21.)

  • TOTAL CASES: 575,812
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 553,030
  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 6.3% (As of Wednesday, April 21.)

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 619

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 30,242

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 16

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 7,144

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 2,533,308 people, or 57.4% of residents age 16 and older

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 DOSES): 1,893,488 people, or 42.9% of residents age 16 and older

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