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COVID-19 cases climbing again as west central Minnesota records 202 for week and state again tops 1,000 a day

New cases of COVID-19 are climbing, and the Minnesota Department of Health said this week that the case count has risen above the high-risk threshold. Hospitalizations and deaths have risen slightly in the past week, too. They generally start climbing several weeks after case counts rise.

coronavirus art graphic
coronavirus art graphic<br/>
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WILLMAR — More than 200 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to the state in west central Minnesota in the past week, and two deaths related to COVID-19 were reported, according to updates from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Case numbers have been climbing in recent weeks, and the state declared this week that cases had climbed into the high-risk category. Cases have topped 1,000 a day in recent days, and hospitalizations have risen, too.

The number of new cases could be even higher. Case numbers reported in Health Department updates reflect positive test results reported to the state. Results of at-home tests are not included.

The 202 new cases in the area in the past week is the highest total since the first week of March. Half of the cases were reported in Stearns County, the largest of the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune.

Area deaths reported include a person in the 35-39 age category in Stearns County and a person age 60-64 in Kandiyohi County.

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In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported 10 newly reported deaths and 1,464 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:
In the past week, the total of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Minnesota has hovered around a total of 400. The most recent report lists 41 people in ICUs and 360 hospitalized but not in an ICU.

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,443,859, which includes 1,379,376 total people testing positive and 64,483 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 state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 12,492, which includes 28 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,709 deaths, 45.7%, 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 24 people with COVID-19 were in ICUs across the state as of Thursday, and 210 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, 1 reported having zero staffed beds available. Of the 36 with non-ICU pediatric units reporting, 12 hospitals, 33%, said they had zero staffed non-ICU pediatric beds available.

Of 68 adult ICUs reporting, 27 of them, 40%, said they had zero staffed beds available. Of 130 non-ICU hospitals reporting, 40 hospitals, 31%, said they had staffed zero beds.

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, 3,9094,796 Minnesotans have received at least one dose and 3,697,262 have completed the vaccine series statewide. The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccines, meaning they have had booster shots, is 2,556,518.

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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. No school buildings in the 11 counties are listed on the weekly report released Thursday.

School buildings on the list 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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