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More than 400 new COVID-19 cases reported in the past week; no deaths reported in the area

COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Minnesota in recent weeks, with the positivity rate increasing from 3.3% a month ago to 9.7% in the past week. Deaths have not increased, but hospitalization numbers are climbing.

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More than 400 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in west central Minnesota in the past week. No deaths were reported for the area in Minnesota Department of Health updates.
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WILLMAR — More than 400 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in west central Minnesota in the past week. No deaths were reported for the area in Minnesota Department of Health updates.

The state's total number of new cases has been climbing in recent weeks. The state's hospitalizations have increased, too, but deaths have not.

The Mayo Clinic's COVID-19 page estimated the state's average daily new cases at 24.8 cases per 100,000 people and the average positive test rate of 9.7% on May 4. The average daily case count on April 4 was 7.5 per 100,000 people, with a 3.3% positivity rate.

The total of 410 cases across the area is the highest weekly total since late February. Of the new cases, 243 of them, 59%, were reported in Stearns County, the largest among the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune. Another 64 cases, 16% of the total, were reported in Kandiyohi County, the area's second-largest county.

In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported four newly reported deaths and 2,345 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.

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The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,463,955, which includes 1,397,118 total people testing positive and 66,837 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.

Case numbers reported are preliminary and reflect positive test results reported to the state. At-home test results are not included.

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 current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 12,525, which includes 17 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,718 deaths, 45.6%, 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 273 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, none reported having zero staffed beds available. Of the 36 hospitals with non-ICU pediatric units reporting, 13 hospitals, 36%, said they had zero staffed non-ICU pediatric beds available.

Of 68 adult ICUs reporting, 31 of them, 46%, said they had zero staffed beds available. Of 130 non-ICU hospitals, 44 hospitals, 34%, said they had zero staffed 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 also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Friday's report, 3,909,405 Minnesotans have received one dose and 3,703,300 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 2,554,946.

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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.

More by Linda Vanderwerf
Thanks to federal pandemic aid, Willmar's summer school has been able to offer experiences for students in addition to their academic classes. School officials say experiences offer students a chance to get to learn about their community and expand their vocabulary.

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 area school buildings are listed on the list in the state's most recent weekly update.

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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