Most area counties saw an increase in their 14-day COVID-19 case rate in Thursday’s report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Stearns County had no change in its case per 10,000 population, and Kandiyohi County saw a slight decrease. All others saw increases.

The highest rate by nearly 30 points was in Yellow Medicine County, where the rate was reported at 55.74 cases per 10,000. It's the fourth-highest rate in the state.

The information is used by school districts to help determine how to operate their schools. The state releases the report every Thursday.

Districts also consult with state and local public health officials before making decisions on changing their instruction models.

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The case rate measures the county’s number of newly confirmed cases over a two-week period per 10,000 residents. The state divides the number of new cases by the number found by dividing a county’s population by 10,000.

The state considers a 14-day case rate of 10 or higher to represent an elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission in the community, especially when the level is sustained or increases over time.

This list includes the current case rate for area counties from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5 and how it changed from a week ago:

  • Big Stone County: 23.92, up

  • Chippewa County: 27.48, up

  • Kandiyohi County: 18.05, down

  • Lac qui Parle County: 16.24, up

  • Meeker County: 14.30, up

  • Pope County: 10.93, up

  • Redwood County: 17.61, up

  • Renville County: 16.30, up

  • Stearns County: 19.70, no change

  • Swift County: 14.88, up

  • Yellow Medicine County: 55.74, up

The state’s recommended school options for operating schools:

  • Case rate of 0 to less than 10: In-person learning for all students

  • Case rate of 10 to less than 20: Elementary in-person, middle/high school hybrid

  • Case rate of 20 to less than 30: Both hybrid

  • Case rate of 30 to less than 50: Elementary hybrid, middle/high school distance

  • Case rate of 50 or more: Both distance.

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