Three deaths, 544 cases of COVID-19 reported in west central Minnesota in last week

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— COVID-19 numbers held steady in the west central Minnesota region throughout the last week, with 544 new cases and three deaths reported in the 11-county region tracked by the West Central Tribune.

The area saw 22 fewer total cases than in the previous week, but two additional deaths, according to the

weekly situation update

released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health. Stearns County also recorded 277 of the cases reported to the state, followed by Kandiyohi County with 68 cases and Meeker County with 44.

In June 2022, the department began providing a weekly update, replacing the daily updates that began in spring 2020.

The state's figures are an undercount, because at-home test results are not reported to the state.

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.

Between Aug. 21 and Aug. 27, three deaths were reported in the area, two in Stearns County and one in Chippewa County.

The state's current total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is now at 13,117, an increase of 39 from last week's report.

New cases reported the week of Aug. 21 to Aug. 27 in the 11 counties tracked by the West Central Tribune:

* Big Stone, 10

* Chippewa, 18

* Kandiyohi, 68

* Lac qui Parle, 20

* Meeker, 44

* Pope, 25

* Redwood, 31

* Renville, 22

* Stearns, 277

* Swift, 13

* Yellow Medicine, 16

The state's cumulative number of cases is now listed at 1,639,213, including reinfections. That's about 8,400 more 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 also reports daily vaccine administration numbers. As of Aug. 31, 3,980,792 Minnesotans have received at least one dose and 3,752,581 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 1,793,727.