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

Case rates have fallen across the state in recent weeks. No county in the state reports a case rate of 200 or higher for the Dec. 13 to 26 period reported in the new report. In the past month, a handful of area counties had rates higher than 200, and Kandiyohi County spent two weeks with the highest case reported in the state.

Ten of the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune now have case rates in double digits.

Kandiyohi is no longer one of the highest in the state, and its case rate has fallen nearly 200 points. Lac qui Parle County has the second-highest rate in the state, however, at 109.26. Pine County has the highest case rate, at 119.13. They are the only two counties above 100.

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.

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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 Dec. 6 to Dec. 19 and how it changed from a week ago:

  • Big Stone County: 43.86, down
  • Chippewa County: 78.27, down
  • Kandiyohi County: 66.81, down
  • Lac qui Parle County: 109.26, down
  • Meeker County: 44.20, down
  • Pope County: 31.88, down
  • Redwood County: 55.44, down
  • Renville County: 63.85, down
  • Stearns County: 46.49, down
  • Swift County: 43.57, down
  • Yellow Medicine County: 66.88, 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: New London-Spicer Senior High, New London; Prairie Woods Elementary, New London; Eden Valley Secondary, Eden Valley; Walnut Grove Elementary, Walnut Grove; Cedar Mountain Elementary, Franklin; Renvile County West Elementary, Renville; Benson Secondary, Benson; 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 once again be listed.

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