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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - An online appointment portal for a pilot COVID-19 vaccination program in Minnesota was hammered by over 10,000 hits per second after it was launched at noon today.

The demand overwhelmed the system as Minnesotans 65 years and older tried to sign up for the limited number of doses that will be administered later this week at nine sites around Minnesota, including Rochester. The pilot program is also making vaccine doses available to educators and child care workers through their employers. As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, all of the appointment slots had been filled and all other registrants are being placed on a waitlist.

The Minnesota Department of Health today reported the number of Minnesotans who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is now above 200,000. In Olmsted County, the latest count shows over 18,000 residents have had at least one dose, which is about 12 percent of the population.

Minnesota's coronavirus related hospitalization statistics continue to drop. The latest report put the overall number of Minnesotans hospitalized due to COVID-19 at 584. It is the first time the total has been below 600 since the week before Halloween. 110 of the patients are in intensive care. That is the lowest that number has been since October 1st.

The State Health Department today reported six additional coronavirus related deaths statewide and 922 new COVID-19 infections. 35 of the new cases were found in Olmsted County. The testing total from Monday was just under 12,750 and the daily testing positivity rate was about 7.2 percent.

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