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Most west central Minnesota counties see increased COVID-19 case rates in latest report; Yellow Medicine County more than doubles

The state Department of Health releases a 14-day COVID-19 case rate for the state's counties. The report can be used by school districts along with other factors in deciding the type of instruction model they use. The higher the number, the greater risk of COVID-19 spreading in a community.

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

Kandiyohi and Chippewa counties had a decrease in their case rate, and Big Stone County had no change.

Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Pope, Redwood, Renville, Stearns, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties saw increases. Yellow Medicine County's case rate more than doubled from last week's report.

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. 16 to Aug. 29 and how it changed from a week ago:

  • Big Stone County: 17.94, no change
  • Chippewa County: 12.49, down
  • Kandiyohi County: 18.28, down
  • Lac qui Parle County: 10.34, up
  • Meeker County: 9.10, up
  • Pope County: 9.11, up
  • Redwood County: 17.61, up
  • Renville County: 10.19, up
  • Stearns County: 19.64, up
  • Swift County: 7.44, up
  • Yellow Medicine County: 37.49, 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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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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