Slight increase in Blue Earth County COVID case rates; Waseca County sees decline

A growing number of schools in Minnesota are seeing rising case rates, according to the latest 14-day report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

Updated each Thursday, this weekly report provides guidance to Minnesota schools that are faced with the decision whether to hold classes in person, online, or a combination of the two methods.

The most recent report covers the period of Oct 4 to Oct 17.

Here are MDH’s recommended policy options based on a 14-day case rate range:

  • 0-9 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for all students
  • 10-19 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students
  • 20-29 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for all students
  • 30-49 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for elementary students; distance learning for secondary students
  • 50+ cases per 10,000 residents: Distance learning for all students

There are 25 Minnesota counties with case rates of 50 or higher, compared to 19 last week. Waseca County finally dropped off that list after skyrocketing five weeks of skyrocketing case rates began leveling off last week.  Murray  County (73.03), Nobles County, (70.52), and Lyon County (51.47) all have case rates of 50 or higher, according to MDH.

There are 37 counties with case rates between 30 and 49, ten more than last week.  Le Sueur is one of those counties.  Its case rate rose to 33.23 from 25.37 last week.  It’s the opposite for Martin County, where case rates declined from last week’s 52.59 rate, to 32.06 this week.  Redwood County is now in this case rate range after case rates increased from 26.74 to 30.00.  This is also the range Waseca County landed in after case rates fell from 69.65 last week to 36.68 this week.  Other counties with case rates in this range include Faribault (36.70), Fillmore (33.03), Jackson (38.82), Renville (32.61), and Steele (34.35).

Eighteen counties have case rates of 20 to 29, ten fewer than last week.  Blue Earth County remains in this case rate range after a slight increase in case rates,  from 20.96 to 22.62.  Watonwan and Freeborn counties also saw an increase, Watonwan going from 16.40 to 20.05, and Freeborn increasing from 16.05 to 22.60.  Nicollet (24.57) and Brown (25.78) counties both saw a slight decrease in case rates, but remain in this range from last week.  Rice County is also in this category with a current case rate of 26.91, and so is Mower County (21.97).

Only six Minnesota counties have case rates between 10 and 19, including Cottonwood, which has a rate of 18.47, a slight decline from last week, and  Sibley County, where the 14.08 rate remains largely unchanged from last week.

One Minnesota county has a case rate of 9 or below, and that is Cook County.  The rural, far northeast corner of the state jumped from its case rate of 1.88 a week ago to 7.53 this week, but still has the lowest case rate in the state.




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