Area COVID-19 cases lower in latest state update, no deaths reported in area


— Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have decreased in west central Minnesota, according to the

weekly situation update

released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

No deaths related to COVID-19 and 280 new cases were reported in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune from Dec. 18 through Dec. 24.

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

In west central Minnesota, 17 people from area counties were hospitalized — nine people from Stearns; four from Kandiyohi; and one each from Chippewa, Meeker, Renville and Yellow Medicine.

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

The state's current death toll attributed to COVID-19 is 13,933, an increase of 47 from last week's report and an average of about seven deaths per day. The death rate per 100,000 people is about 1.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,736,893, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 5,721, an average of more than 815 new cases each day. The omicron variant continues to account for 100% of reported cases and has since May.

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.

New cases reported in the area last week and the case rate per 100,000 people in each county are as follows:

* Big Stone: 3, 60.0 case rate

* Chippewa: 29, 242.6 case rate

* Kandiyohi: 43, 100.4 case rate

* Lac qui Parle: 5, 74.4 case rate

* Meeker: 28, 121.2 case rate

* Pope: 12, 108.6 case rate

* Redwood: 9, 59.0 case rate

* Renville: 12, 81.9 case rate

* Stearns: 129, 81.4 case rate

* Swift: 3, 32.1 case rate

* Yellow Medicine: 7, 71.3 case rate

The state reported 577 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Dec. 27. That includes 528 people hospitalized in medical units, 14 higher than the week before, and another 49 in intensive care units, three fewer than the week before.

Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 48 in ICUs and 517 in medical units. The daily average is lower for ICUs and about the same for medical units.

As of Dec. 27, 4,006,953 Minnesotans, 72%, have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 67.9% of the state's population, 3,779,523 people, have completed the vaccine series.

The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccine, meaning they have had recommended booster shots, is 1,227,495, which is 22.1% of Minnesotans. For ages 6 months through 4 years, up to date means a complete primary series. For ages 5 and older, up to date means a complete primary series and a bivalent booster dose when due.

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.