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West central Minnesota counties report 10 deaths, nearly 3,000 cases of COVID-19 in past week

Minnesota recorded nearly 93,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week and 250 deaths due to COVID-19. The number of people in the state's ICUs with COVID-19 has decreased in the past week, but the number of people in hospitals has fluctuated without a definitive trend during the week.

coronavirus art graphic
coronavirus art graphic

WILLMAR — Ten deaths related to COVID-19 and nearly 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in west central Minnesota last week, according to updates from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Of those, about 1,700 cases were connected to Stearns County, which has the largest population among the 11 counties the West Central Tribune has tracked during the pandemic.

The people whose deaths were reported this week ranged in age from the early 40s to the early 90s.

Stearns County accounted for the five of the reported deaths. One person's death was reported in each of these age categories: 40-44, 55-59, 60-69, 75-79 and 80-84.

Two people's deaths were reported in Meeker County, one age 80-84 and one age 90-94.


Three other counties reported a death in the past week. Renville County reported the death of a person age 50-54. In Kandiyohi County, the death of a person age 55-59 was reported. Chippewa County reported a death in the 85-89 age group.

In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported 43 newly reported deaths and 14,565 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.

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,309,665, which includes 1,263,193 total people testing positive and 46,472 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 nearly 93,000 in the past week.

The number of cases is likely to grow more. About 11,000 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 website.

The state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 11,382, which includes 231 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,336 deaths, 46.9%, 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 213 people with COVID-19 were in ICUs across the state as of Thursday, and 1,289 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized but not in an ICU.

Statewide, the number of people with COVID-19 in ICUs has declined in the past week. The number hospitalized with COVID-19 has fluctuated and has averaged just more than 1,300 a day.


The state reports the hospital capacity of staffed adult and pediatric beds. Of the state's eight pediatric ICU units, four reported having zero beds available. Of the 36 non-ICU pediatric units reporting, 17 hospitals, 47%, said they had zero non-ICU pediatric beds available.

Of 68 adult ICUs reporting, 48 of them, 71%, said they had zero beds available. Of 130 hospitals reporting on non-ICU capacity, 47 hospitals, 36%, said they had zero beds available.

Statewide, 34 adult ICU beds and 16 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, 3,834,471 Minnesotans have received one dose and 3,590,276 have completed the vaccine series statewide. The number of fully vaccinated people is 14,405 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: 65.4%
  • Chippewa: 61.6%
  • Kandiyohi: 60.6%
  • Lac qui Parle: 64.9%
  • Meeker: 53.8%
  • Pope: 61.8%
  • Redwood: 59.3%
  • Renville: 59.1%
  • Stearns: 59.3%
  • Swift: 61.7%
  • Yellow Medicine: 57.7%

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: 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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