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West central Minnesota sees two deaths related to COVID-19 and 599 new cases in past week

The state reported nearly 3,000 new COVID-19 cases Friday, and more than 14,000 new cases in the past week. Deaths due to COVID-19 also increased slightly, as did the number of people in hospitals.

coronavirus art graphic
coronavirus art graphic<br/>
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WILLMAR — Two deaths related to COVID-19 and 599 new cases were reported in west central Minnesota, according to updates from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Of the new cases, 314 of them were reported in Stearns County, the largest of the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune during the pandemic. Another 100 cases were reported in Kandiyohi County, the second-largest in the area. Pope County added 49 cases during the week.

Cases have been growing across Minnesota, and so has the positive test rate.

The positivity rate was 11.9% Wednesday, May 11, according to the Mayo Clinic website. The rate was 10.5 percent a week earlier and 4.1% April 11.

Two deaths were reported in updates in the past week — a person in the 75-79 age category in Stearns County and a person age 80-84 in Redwood County.

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In the situation update from the Minnesota Department of Health , the state reported 12 newly reported deaths and 2,919 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 1,479,047, which includes 1,410,344 total people testing positive and 68,703 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 in Health Department updates are preliminary and reflect positive test results reported to the state. At-home test results are not included.

The state’s current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 12,559, which includes 34 more deaths than a week ago. Of that total, 5,733 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 35 people with COVID-19 were in ICUs across the state as of Thursday, and 356 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, two reported having zero staffed beds available. Of the 36 with non-ICU pediatric units reporting, 18 hospitals, 50%, said they had zero staffed non-ICU pediatric beds available.

Of 68 adult ICUs reporting, 29 of them, 43%, 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:

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The state also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Friday's report, 3,911,728 Minnesotans have received at least one dose and 3,706,216 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 2,553,511.

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. There are no area school buildings listed on the weekly update issued Thursday.

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.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking here to subscribe.

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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