COVID-19 cases and deaths increase slightly in west central Minnesota in state's weekly report


— The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area and deaths related to the coronavirus increased slightly last week, according to the

weekly situation update

released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Three deaths and 413 new cases — two more deaths and 20 more new cases than the week before — were reported in the week beginning Oct. 23. The three deaths were all reported in Stearns County. The West Central Tribune tracks reports from 11 area counties.

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

In west central Minnesota, 19 people from area counties were reported to be hospitalized — 14 in Stearns, three in Meeker, one in Kandiyohi and one in Renville counties.

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 13,501, an increase of 48 since last week's report.

New cases reported last week:

* Big Stone, 16

* Chippewa, 8

* Kandiyohi, 31

* Lac qui Parle, 11

* Meeker, 30

* Pope, 14

* Redwood, 19

* Renville, 6

* Stearns, 245

* Swift, 5

* Yellow Medicine, 28

The state's cumulative number of cases is now 1,691,086, including reinfections. That's more than 5,000 new cases in the last week.

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 482 people hospitalized with COVID-19, as of Nov. 1. That includes 431 people hospitalized in medical units, and another 51 people in intensive care units. The change from the previous week indicated about 50 fewer people in medical units but about 20 more in ICUs.

The state also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Nov. 1, 3,994,310 Minnesotans, 71.8%, have received at least one dose, and 3,756,444, 67.5% of the state's population, 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 742,891, which is 13.4% of the state.