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West central Minnesota COVID-19 cases increased slightly in most recent state report

New confirmed cases of COVID-19 fell statewide in the most recent state update, and more than 40 new deaths were reported. On average, 375 new cases and six deaths occur each day.

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From March 12 through March 18 the number of new COVID-19 cases was 147 in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune.

WILLMAR — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased slightly, according to the weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

From March 12 through March 18, there were 147 new cases in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune. The week before, the counties reported 133 new cases.

Two deaths were reported — one person from Chippewa County and one person from Pope County. Last week's report listed three deaths from the area.

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

In west central Minnesota, 15 people from area counties were hospitalized, up from six the week before. The hospitalized included nine people from Stearns County, three from Kandiyohi County, two from Pope County and one from Meeker County.


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 14,539, an increase of 42 from last week's report and an average of six deaths a day.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,784,263, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 2,612, an average of about 375 new cases a day. The daily average is lower than in the previous state update.

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: Big Stone , 2; Chippewa , 4; Kandiyohi , 22; Lac qui Parle , 1; Meeker , 9; Pope , 5; Redwood , 7; Renville , 2; Stearns , 89; Swift , 2; Yellow Medicine , 4.

The state reported 205 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of March 21. That includes 188 people hospitalized in medical units, 74 fewer than the week before, and another 17 in intensive care units, six fewer than the week before.

Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 20 in ICUs and 236 in medical units. The daily averages are both lower than those reported a week ago.

As of March 21, 4,012,434 Minnesotans, 72.1%, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine , and 68.1% of the state's population, 3,787,566 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 1,386,323, which is 24.9% 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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