Apr. 19—MANKATO — New daily COVID-19 cases in the region were at their lowest point since early March.
Monday's report from the Minnesota Department of Health showed 31 new cases in the nine-county region. There were no additional deaths reported locally.
That compares to new case numbers in the 70s in each of the past five days, although case numbers often lag after weekends.
Martin County had no new cases while Brown, Waseca and Watonwan counties reported just one new case each.
Statewide, there were 1,292 new cases reported Monday. Six additional deaths were reported, all in people over age 70. The statewide numbers are also down from recent weeks.
Hospitalizations have climbed significantly in the past weeks and are hovering around levels not seen since early January. Health officials say coronavirus variants circulating in Minnesota are driving those increases.
Still, the latest numbers suggest that hospitalizations may be peaking.
The age of those newly hospitalized is trending younger than earlier in the pandemic. The majority of people in the hospital now for COVID-19 are younger than 60.
The six deaths Monday raised Minnesota's overall pandemic death toll to 7,020. Among those who've died, about 62% had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.
The state has recorded 557,665 total confirmed or probable cases so far in the pandemic, including those posted Monday. About 95% of Minnesotans known to be infected with COVID-19 in the pandemic have recovered to the point where they no longer need to be isolated.
Following are Monday's count of new cases in the region:
—Blue Earth — 9
—Brown — 1
—Faribault — 2
—Le Sueur — 6
—Martin — 0
—Nicollet — 8
—Sibley — 5
—Waseca — 1
—Watonwan — 1