Most area counties saw a decrease in their 14-day COVID-19 case rates in Thursday’s report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

However, many of the decreases were very small. All area school districts had case rates in triple digits. Eight of the state's 87 counties had case rates higher than 200 in the latest report. Five of them are in the area tracked by the West Central Tribune.

Kandiyohi County has the state's highest case rate for the second week in a row, even though its case rate fell by 40 points. Other area counties with rates higher than 200 are Renville, Meeker, Lac qui Parle and Chippewa.

Fifteen counties reported case rates in double digits. Last week just five had double-digit rates. Cook County has the lowest case rate at 52.72.

This week's report covers the period of Nov. 22 to Dec. 5.

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School districts track positive cases in their buildings and consult with public health officials and other sources to determine how to operate their schools during the pandemic. The state releases the case rate report every Thursday.

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 Nov. 22 to Dec. 5 and how it changed from the week before:

  • Big Stone County: 153.51, up
  • Chippewa County: 204.00, down
  • Kandiyohi County: 255.05, down
  • Lac qui Parle County: 202.27, no change
  • Meeker County: 224.01, down
  • Pope County: 107.47, down
  • Redwood County: 197.64, down
  • Renville County: 241.15, up
  • Stearns County: 154.76, down
  • Swift County: 176.39, down
  • Yellow Medicine County: 164.17. down

Separately, the Minnesota Department of Health each week also updates its list of school buildings that reported five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period.

Area school buildings on the list are as follows: MACCRAY Senior High, Clara City; Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Elementary, Atwater; Community Christian, Willmar; Kennedy Elementary, Willmar; New London-Spicer Senior High, New London; Prairie Woods Elementary, New London; Willmar Senior High, Willmar; Dawson-Boyd Secondary, Dawson; Eden Valley Secondary, Eden Valley; Minnewaska Secondary, Glenwood; Redwood Valley Senior High, Redwood Falls; BOLD Senior High School, Olivia; Benson Secondary, Benson; Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Secondary, Kerkhoven; Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Elementary, Murdock; and Yellow Medicine East High School, Granite Falls.

School buildings that have not reported a new case for 28 days will be removed. If five or more cases are reported in a school building in a subsequent two-week period, they will be listed again.

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