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COVID-19 cases rising in west central Minnesota, across the state in Health Department update

The daily average of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota jumped from a 378-case daily average to 760 cases a day in one week. Deaths have also increased to a daily average of 11 deaths a day.

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The daily average of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota has nearly doubled, and the death rate is also increasing, according to the latest update from the Minnesota Department of Health.

WILLMAR — More than 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported last week in west central Minnesota, according to the weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The 309 new cases listed in the update represent an increase of 178 cases from the previous weekly report.

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

From Jan. 15 through Jan. 21, two deaths related to COVID-19 — one each in Chippewa and Stearns counties — were reported in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune.

In west central Minnesota, 12 people from area counties were hospitalized — six from Stearns County, two each from Meeker and Renville counties and one each from Big Stone and Kandiyohi counties.


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 14,162, an increase of 77 from last week's report and an average of 11 deaths per day.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,753,092, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 5,341, an average of more than 760 new cases each day. The most recent daily average is more than double the daily average in the previous week's 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 include Big Stone, 8; Chippewa, 17; Kandiyohi, 66; Lac qui Parle, 15; Meeker, 18; Pope, 11; Redwood, 11; Renville, 10; Stearns, 138; Swift, 4; Yellow Medicine, 11.

The state reported 379 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Jan. 24. That includes 337 people hospitalized in medical units, 61 fewer than the week before, and another 42 in intensive care units, five more than the week before.

Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 40 in ICUs and 351 in medical units. The daily average is the same for ICUs and lower for medical units.

As of Jan. 24, 4,008,115 Minnesotans, 72%, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 68% of the state's population, 3,783,113, have completed the vaccine series.


The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccines, meaning they have had booster shots, is 1,308,780, which is 23.5% 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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