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New COVID-19 cases increased by nearly 100 last week in west central Minnesota

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in west central Minnesota grew by nearly 100 in the third week of October. Hospitalizations doubled, from 11 the week prior to 23 last week.

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WILLMAR — The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in west central Minnesota grew by nearly 100 in the third week of October, according to the weekly situation update released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

A total of 393 new cases was reported from Oct. 16 through Oct. 22. In the previous week, the total had been 299.

One death related to COVID-19 was reported in Stearns County from Oct. 16 to Oct. 22 in west central Minnesota. One death was reported the week before as well.

The state's report of new cases is an under count, because at-home test results are not included.

In west central Minnesota, 23 people from area counties were reportedly hospitalized in that week, including 19 from Stearns County, two from Pope County, and one each from Swift and Kandiyohi counties. Hospitalizations the week before totaled 11.

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In June 2022, the department began providing a weekly update, replacing the daily updates that began in spring 2020. The updates are released each Thursday at 11 a.m. and include data received as of 4 a.m. the preceding Tuesday. When the report refers to numbers from last week, it refers to information gathered from Sunday through Saturday the week before the information is released.

In all cases, the numbers in the updates are preliminary and may change as more information is received.

The state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now 13,453, and increase of 37 from last week's report and a rate of more than 5 people per day.

More coronavirus coverage:
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.

New cases reported last week in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune:

  • Big Stone, 8
  • Chippewa, 8
  • Kandiyohi, 23
  • Lac qui Parle, 7
  • Meeker, 22
  • Pope, 10
  • Redwood, 13
  • Renville, 9
  • Stearns, 244
  • Swift, 33
  • Yellow Medicine, 16

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,686,048, including reinfections. That's 5,132 new cases confirmed in the last week, an average of more than 730 cases a day.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 again more than 90 days after an initial lab-confirmed positive test are considered to have a reinfection.

The state reported 525 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Oct. 25. That includes 485 people hospitalized in medical units, 85 more than the week before, and another 40 in intensive care units, eight more than the week before. The reported seven-day average was 438 people in medical units and 44 in ICUs.

The state also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Oct. 25, 3,991,623 people, 71.7% of Minnesotans, have received at least one dose and 3,757,019, 67.5% of the state, have completed the vaccine series statewide.

The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccines, meaning they have had recommended booster shots, is 633,451, 11.4% of the state, an increase of more than 70,000 in a week.

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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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