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The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — Eight of nine counties in south-central Minnesota had new COVID-19 cases confirmed Tuesday.

The region combined for 28 new cases, down from Monday, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. There were no new deaths reported in the region.

Blue Earth County’s nine new cases were the most in the region, while only Faribault County didn’t have any new cases.

The full list of new cases in the region includes:

• Blue Earth County — Nine

• Nicollet County — Five

•Brown County — Five

• Waseca County — Four

• Le Sueur County — Two

• Watonwan County — One

• Sibley County — One

• Martin County — One

Statewide, Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers Tuesday showed another day of moderate case growth, relatively stable daily hospitalizations and single-digit deaths. Officials, though, continue to warn that the level of ongoing community spread of the virus means more problems ahead.

The health department reported 432 more confirmed infections, although that caseload was affected by low testing volume. Of the 85,351 confirmed cases of the disease in the pandemic to date, about 93% of those infected have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

Two other closely watched metrics — the number of people in the hospital (238) and patients in intensive care (131) — continue to trend down during September. In August, some 300 people were hospitalized daily on average.

Blue Earth County had no current COVID hospitalizations as of Monday, according to county public health data. Residents as young as 13 and as old as 94 have been hospitalized with COVID during the pandemic.

Five more Minnesotans died of COVID-19. Minnesota’s pandemic death toll is now 1,927.

The newest numbers come as officials continue to prep Minnesotans to expect a long road back to normalcy. Hospitalizations are down and daily death counts are moderate, but new cases had been growing significantly for weeks.

, raising concerns that new cases now will create more severe health problems later.

Southern and central Minnesota and the Twin Cities suburbs have driven much of the increase in new cases while Hennepin and Ramsey counties show some of the slowest case growth in the state.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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