Oct. 1—MANKATO — South-central Minnesota's deadly week for COVID-19 continued with three more fatalities confirmed Friday.
The deaths occurred in Blue Earth County residents between 65-69 years old and 75-79 years old, along with a Faribault County resident between 60-64 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. They raised the region's death toll to eight over the last week.
The south-central region has now had 282 confirmed COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.
Blue Earth County's 51 COVID-19 deaths are the most in the region. Because it's by far the most populous area county, though, it has the lowest death rate per 10,000 residents.
In contrast, Faribault County has 26 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. But its lower population gives it the highest death rate per 10,000 residents in the region.
The area deaths were among 17 confirmed statewide Friday. Minnesota's pandemic death toll rose to 8,170.
South-central Minnesota also finished the week with a slight increase in newly confirmed cases. Area counties combined for 816 cases between Sept. 25-Oct. 1, a 3% increase from the 793 during the previous week.
This week's slight rise came despite a drop in cases in Blue Earth County. The county had a 17% drop in new cases, from 214 to 178.
Waseca and Brown counties also had drops in new cases this week — Waseca had the biggest decrease at 29%. The remaining six counties had increases in new cases.
Nicollet County's increase was from 97 to 105 new cases, an 8% uptick.
Watonwan and Faribault counties had the biggest percentage increases in cases this week. Each had 73% rises — smaller counties are more likely to have big swings from one week to the next.
The regionwide uptick included newly confirmed cases in area schools. Mankato Area Public Schools on Thursday reported 23 new cases among its students and staff since the prior Friday.
Ten of the new cases were at the high schools and seven were in elementary schools or early childhood programs.
There have now been 96 cases since the start of the school year. The numbers include all infected students and staff, even if they were not infected at a school building.
East and West high schools are among seven area schools named this week to the state's list of schools to have five or more active cases.
Other schools added to the list are: St. Peter High School, Waseca High School, Waseca Junior High School, New Ulm's Jefferson Elementary School and New Ulm Middle School and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Secondary School.
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