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COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations up in west central Minnesota in latest Health Department update

COVID-19 cases and deaths increased more slowly in the most recent Minnesota Health Department update. An average of 600 people test positive — and six die — each day in Minnesota.

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The latest COVID-19 update from the State of Minnesota lists 364 new cases in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune. One death, of a person from Stearns County, was reported.

WILLMAR — Both the number of people in west central Minnesota with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the number of people hospitalized increased in the weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The update lists 364 new cases in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune. One death, of a person from Stearns County, was reported. The latest update covers Jan. 22 through Jan. 28. The number of new cases is 55 higher than in the previous update.

During that week, 22 people from the were hospitalized — 11 from Stearns; five from Kandiyohi; two from Pope; and one each from Big Stone, Chippewa, Renville and Swift counties. In the last update, the number of people hospitalized was 12.

The state's report of new cases is an undercount, because at-home test results are not included.

In all cases, the numbers in the updates are preliminary and may change as more information is received.


The state’s current death toll attributed to COVID-19 is 14,207, an increase of 45 from last week's report and an average of about six deaths per day.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,757,399, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 4,307, an average of 615 new cases each day. The daily average is 145 fewer than in the previous weekly report. The omicron variant of the coronavirus accounted for 100% of reported cases last week and all cases since May.

People who have tested positive for COVID-19 again more than 90 days after an initial lab-confirmed positive test are considered to have a reinfection.

New cases reported last week: Big Stone, 4; Chippewa, 9; Kandiyohi, 79; Lac qui Parle, 7; Meeker, 16; Pope, 23; Redwood, 12; Renville, 22; Stearns, 165; Swift, 18; Yellow Medicine, 9.

The state reported 404 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Jan. 31. That includes 369 people hospitalized in medical units, 32 more than the week before, and another 35 in intensive care units, seven fewer than the week before.

Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 34 in ICUs and 369 in medical units. The average is lower for ICUs and higher for medical units than in the previous update.

As of Jan. 31, 4,008,849 Minnesotans, 72.1%, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 68% of the state's population, 3,783,894, have completed a vaccine series.

The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccines, meaning they have had booster shots, is 1,323,252, which is 23.8% of Minnesotans. For ages 6 months through 4 years, up to date means a complete primary series. For ages 5 and older, up to date means a complete primary series and a bivalent booster dose when due.


In June 2022, the department began providing a weekly update, replacing the daily updates that began in spring 2020. The updates are released each Thursday at 11 a.m. and include data received as of 4 a.m. the preceding Tuesday.

When the report refers to numbers from last week, it refers to information gathered from Sunday through Saturday the week before the information is released.

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In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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