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Area reports 11 deaths due to COVID-19 and new deaths

In Minnesota, the number of COVID-19 cases increased by more than 78,000 in the past week, and it could grow more as the state continues to work through a backlog of reports from this month. More than 11,000 people have reportedly died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

coronavirus art graphic
coronavirus art graphic<br/>

WILLMAR — West Central Minnesota saw more than 2,900 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and 11 newly reported deaths in the past week, according to updates from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Among the 11 counties followed by the West Central Tribune, Stearns County, with the largest population, accounted for about two-thirds of the total new cases and four of the deaths.

Area residents whose deaths were reported in the past week ranged in age from the early 40s to the early 80s.

Stearns County reported the deaths of one person in the 40-44 age group, one person age 55-59, one person age 65-69 and one person age 70-74.

Kandiyohi County reported the deaths of three people, one each in the 45-49 , 60-64 and 80-84 age groups.


Four other counties reported the death of one person each in the past week — age 75-79 in Chippewa County, age 65-69 in Lac qui Parle County, age 80-84 in Swift County and age 80-84 in Yellow Medicine County.

In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported 36 newly reported deaths and 11,828 new cases Friday. The report is released five days a week at 11 a.m. and includes cases reported as of 4 a.m. the previous business day.

More coronavirus coverage:
The daily average of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota jumped from a 378-case daily average to 760 cases a day in one week. Deaths have also increased to a daily average of 11 deaths a day.

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,216,734, which includes 1,179,775 total people testing positive and 36,959 reinfections. The state reports the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 again more than 90 days after an initial lab-confirmed positive test.

The cumulative case number grew by more than 78,000 in the past week.

The number of cases is likely to grow. About 46,000 January case reports are still to be reviewed, due to the highest volume of lab reports since the pandemic began, according to the state's situation update website.

The state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 11,151, which includes 180 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,273 deaths, 47.3%, have occurred in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

In a report of its response capacity to the pandemic, the Health Department reported that 241 people with COVID-19 were in ICUs across the state as of Thursday, and 1,330 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized but not in an ICU.

The state also reports the hospital capacity of adult and pediatric beds. Of the state's eight pediatric ICU units, two reported having zero staffed beds available. Of the 36 non-ICU pediatric units reporting, 20 hospitals, 46%, said they had zero non-ICU pediatric beds available.


Of 68 adult ICUs reporting, 45 of them, 66%, said they had zero beds available. Of 130 non-ICU hospitals reporting, 54 hospitals, 42%, said they had zero beds.

Statewide, 34 adult ICU beds and 17 pediatric ICU beds were staffed and available Thursday.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases among residents confirmed to reside in area counties and the number of deaths includes:

The state is also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Friday's report, 3,816,297 Minnesotans have received one dose and 3,575,871 have completed the vaccine series statewide. The number of fully vaccinated people is 16,036 higher than a week ago.

According to the figures available Friday, the percentage of individuals age 5 and over who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in area counties includes:

  • Big Stone: 65.3%
  • Chippewa: 61.3%
  • Kandiyohi: 60.4%
  • Lac qui Parle: 64.7%
  • Meeker: 53.5%
  • Pope: 61.5%
  • Redwood: 59%
  • Renville: 59%
  • Stearns: 59%
  • Swift: 61.4%
  • Yellow Medicine: 57.5%

The vaccine data web page is updated at 11 a.m. weekdays, but there is a delay between a vaccine being given and when it is reported to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The state releases an updated list of school buildings that have 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: Ramsey Elementary, Montevideo; Kennedy Elementary, Willmar; Willmar Middle School; Willmar Senior High; Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City Secondary, Grove City; Minnewaska Area Elementary, Glenwood; and Paynesville Area High School.

School buildings listed may not have ongoing transmission. If they have not reported a new case for 28 days, they are removed from the list. If five or more cases are reported again in the future, they will be placed on the list again.


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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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