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New COVID-19 cases in west central Minnesota rise slightly, as do deaths, but statewide positivity rate down

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Minnesota has increased an average of more than 1,500 new cases a day in the past week, though the test positivity rate has declined slightly. In west central Minnesota, the number of new cases increased slightly in the last week, to 569, and several deaths were reported.

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The number of deaths related to COVID-19 and newly confirmed cases in the area both increased slightly in the past week.
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WILLMAR — The number of deaths related to COVID-19 and newly confirmed cases in the area both increased slightly in the past week.

In the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune, four deaths and 569 new cases were reported by the Minnesota Department of Health. The new case total is slightly higher than the totals reported in the past two weeks.

The case numbers locally and statewide could be much higher. State updates are preliminary and reflect positive test results which are reported to the state. The updates do not include the results of at-home tests.

The test positivity rate, as reported by the Mayo Clinic website, is now 12%, the lowest since May 11.

Among area residents whose deaths were reported in the past week were two people in Kandiyohi County, one person in the 90-94 age category and one person age 95-99. One person age 85-89 from Stearns County died, and one person age 95-99 from Pope County died.

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Stearns County, the largest of the counties in the Tribune's count, reported 321 new cases. Kandiyohi County, the second-largest, reported 74 new cases.

In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported 15 newly reported deaths and 1,968 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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COVID-19 cases and deaths increased more slowly in the most recent Minnesota Health Department update. An average of 600 people test positive — and six die — each day in Minnesota.

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,515,724, which includes 1,441,728 total people testing positive and 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 total of new cases in the past week is 10,742.

The state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 12,664, which includes 36 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,786 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 Thursday that 42 people with COVID-19 were in ICUs across the state as of Thursday, and 404 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, one reported having zero staffed beds available. Of the 36 hospitals with non-ICU pediatric units, 21 hospitals, 58%, said they had zero staffed non-ICU pediatric beds available.

Of 68 adult ICUs, 38 of them, 56%, said they had zero staffed beds available. Of 130 hospitals, 39 hospitals, 30%, said they had staffed zero non-ICU beds.

More by Linda Vanderwerf
With the help of state and federal funds, homes and businesses in Lake Elizabeth, East Lake Lillian and Harrison townships in Kandiyohi County could have broadband connections within two years.

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:

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The state also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Friday's report, 3,917,940 Minnesotans have received at least one dose and 3,713,521 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 2,444,598.

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.

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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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