Area's COVID-19 cases, deaths much lower in recent state update


— New confirmed cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations related to it have fallen in the latest

weekly situation update

released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

In the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune, 133 new cases were reported from March 5 through March 11.

The deaths of three people were reported — one each from Meeker, Redwood and Swift counties.

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

In west central Minnesota, six people from area counties were hospitalized — four from Stearns and two from Kandiyohi.

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


is 14,497, an increase of 48 from last week's report and an average of about seven deaths a day. The number of deaths is the same as in the previous state update.

The state's cumulative number of cases is 1,781,651, including reinfections. New cases in the past week totaled 2,785, an average of nearly 400 new cases per day. The daily average decreased by more than 100 cases since last week's update.

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: Big Stone, 4;


, 4;


, 24;

Lac qui Parle

, 5;


, 4;


, 1;


, 8;


, 5;


, 69;


, 4;

Yellow Medicine

, 5.

The state reported 285 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of March 14. That includes 262 people hospitalized in medical units, 74 fewer than the week before, and another 23 in intensive care units, 11 fewer than the week before.

Hospitalizations had a seven-day average of 28 in ICUs and 290 in medical units. The daily averages are both lower than in last week's update.

As of March 14, 4,012,019 Minnesotans, 72.1%, have received at least one dose of a

COVID-19 vaccine

, and 68.1% of the state's population, 3,787,121, have completed the vaccine series.

The number of people listed as being up-to-date with their vaccines, meaning they have had booster shots, is 1,379,561, which is 24.8% 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.