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West central Minnesota's confirmed COVID-19 cases at lowest point this year

Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases are at their lowest this year in Minnesota. An average of three deaths and 120 new cases are still reported each day.

coronavirus art graphic
coronavirus art graphic

WILLMAR — West central Minnesota counties reported 50 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the latest weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The number of new confirmed cases is the lowest reported in 2023. In February, the region reported more than 400 cases. The number of new cases fell below three digits in late April.

The COVID-19 national public health emergency ended Thursday, but the government's response to COVID-19 will continue. Vaccines will continue to be available, but some government policies could change.

More than half of the area's new cases reported from April 30 through May 6 were in Stearns County, which has the largest city and largest population in the area. Other area counties reported new cases in the single digits, and three reported no new cases.

Because home test results are not reported to the state, the cases reported each week are presumed to be an undercount of actual infections.


No deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune.

In west central Minnesota, two people from area counties were hospitalized with COVID-19. One person from Kandiyohi County and one person from Stearns were reportedly hospitalized.

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 14,770, an increase of 23 from last week's report and an average of about three deaths a day.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,795,771, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 1,201, an average of 172 new cases a day.

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 , 0; Chippewa , 0; Kandiyohi , 7; Lac qui Parle , 0; Meeker , 3; Pope , 2; Redwood , 1; Renville , 1; Stearns , 31; Swift , 2; Yellow Medicine , 3.

The state reported 163 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of May 9. That includes 147 people hospitalized in medical units, 12 fewer than the week before, and another 16 in intensive care units, four more than the week before.


Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 14 in ICUs and 140 in medical units.

As of May 9, 4,012,589 Minnesotans, 72.1%, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine , and 68.1% of the state's population, 3,788,518, 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 1,422,843, which is 25.6% 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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