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New cases of COVID-19 in west central Minnesota decreased slightly in past week, hospitalizations up

The state reported an average of 500 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day last week and an average of nine deaths per day. The case average was lower, but the average daily deaths was higher.

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In West Central Minnesota, 26 people from area counties were hospitalized, three more than the week before.
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WILLMAR — Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area decreased slightly from the week before in the latest weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

In west central Minnesota, 251 new cases were reported from Jan. 1 through Jan. 7, six fewer than in the previous week.

One death in Stearns County was reported in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune.

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

In West Central Minnesota, 26 people from area counties were hospitalized, three more than the week before. They included 16 people from Stearns County; five from Kandiyohi County; two from Redwood County; and one each from Meeker, Renville and Swift 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 14,031, an increase of 63 from last week's report and an average of nine deaths per day.

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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.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,745,105, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 3,494, an average of about 500 new cases each day. The daily average was about 175 cases per day fewer than in the previous 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 in the area last week and the case rate per 100,000 people in each county are as follows:

  • Big Stone: 3; 60.0 case rate
  • Chippewa: 6; 50.2 case rate
  • Kandiyohi: 50; 116.7 case rate
  • Lac qui Parle: 7; 104.2 case rate
  • Meeker: 13; 56.3 case rate
  • Pope:4; 36.2 case rate
  • Redwood: 7; 45.9 case rate
  • Renville: 7; 47.8 case rate
  • Stearns: 145; 91.5 case rate
  • Swift: 5; 53.4 case rate
  • Yellow Medicine: 4; 40.8 case rate

The state reported 524 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Jan. 10. That includes 483 people hospitalized in medical units, 32 fewer than the week before, and another 41 in intensive care units, four fewer than the week before.
Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 50 in ICUs and 512 in medical units. The daily averages are lower in both categories.

As of Jan. 10, 4,006,304 Minnesotans, 72%, have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 68% of the state's population, 3,781,331 people, 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 1,270,041, which is 22.8% 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.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism and subscribing here .

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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