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Two weeks from now, the prevalence of COVID-19 in Minnesota could very well be way down from the peak of the omicron surge in January, and quite a bit lower still from the levels of virus circulating right now. 

Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 tracking model currently shows the average daily cases per 100,000 people is still high to very high across most of the state, yet nowhere near as bad as it was in mid-to-late January when Minnesota was averaging around 260 cases per 100,000 people. 

Minnesota has dropped to around 80 cases per 100,000 people, according to the latest data from Mayo Clinic. But some spots are hotter with COVID than others – and the level of the virus currently is still higher than it has been for most of the pandemic. 

Clay County, which is home to Moorhead in northwestern Minnesota, is still averaging more than 160 cases per 100,000 people, while Hennepin County is down to 66 cases per 100,000. 

Hot spots in Minnesota, according to Mayo Clinic. The darker the color, the more COVID there is. 

Hot spots in Minnesota, according to Mayo Clinic. The darker the color, the more COVID there is. 

Look at how significantly Minnesota's hot spots map changes in the Mayo Clinic's 14-day outlook. This map represents a statewide average of just over 45 cases per 100,000 people as of Feb. 25, though the wider range of possible outcomes is between 39 and 57 cases per 100,000. 

Predicted hot spots in Minnesota on Feb. 25, according to Mayo Clinic. The darker the color, the more COVID there is. 

Predicted hot spots in Minnesota on Feb. 25, according to Mayo Clinic. The darker the color, the more COVID there is. 

The amount of COVID moving through Minnesota was extremely high in January. The state's 7-day average test positivity rate reached a record high 23.7% on Jan. 21, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. As of Feb. 4, the rolling average was down to 12.5% – and because data lag by a week, the positivity rate is likely even lower in real time. 

The fading omicron wave has led to municipalities loosening their COVID rules, with Minneapolis and St. Paul ending bar and restaurant regulations that prevented customers from being served indoors without proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, and Duluth bringing an end to its indoor mask mandate.

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Despite rapidly falling numbers, there is still a lot of COVID circulating, according to Dr. Melanie Swift who is an internist and preventative medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic. 

"It's very encouraging to see the rates come down from the omicron surge. But to put it in perspective, we are still having rates that are among the highest that we had during our delta surge — and really second only to omicron's peak in the pandemic so far," Swift said. "So we are far from out of the woods. COVID is still very much with us right now." 

Swift highly recommends masking in public, saying people who wear an N95 mask lower their risk of getting COVID by 85%, while disposable surgical masks are still 65% effective. 

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