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The Free Press and MPR News

MANKATO — Seven counties in south-central Minnesota combined for 21 new COVID-19 cases Thursday.

It was again a relatively small rise in new cases for the region. Daily upticks during the last four days haven’t exceeded 31, after ranging between 38 and 67 over the previous four days, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Brown County had the most new cases in the region with five, followed by four each in Waseca and Faribault counties.

Blue Earth County’s three new cases continued its trend of lower daily upticks over the last week. Sibley and Martin counties, meanwhile, didn’t have any newly confirmed cases Thursday.

The full list of new cases in area counties includes:

• Brown County — Five

• Waseca County — Four

• Faribault County — Four

• Blue Earth County — Three

• Le Sueur County — Two

• Watonwan County — Two

• Nicollet County — One

A day after reporting 29 COVID-19 deaths — the highest single-day death count in months — Minnesota health officials returned Thursday with an equally grim statistic — 19 more deaths. The two-day total is the worst for the state since early June.

Thursday’s health department numbers also showed active, confirmed cases of the disease have for the first time topped 10,000, a strong signal the pandemic is far from over.

The agency added 1,169 newly confirmed or probable cases to the state’s total, extending a more than a weeklong trend of new cases averaging more than 1,000 a day.

The confirmed and probable new cases reported Thursday brought the total in the pandemic to 117,106 cases to date; about 90% have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

The newly reported deaths Thursday raised Minnesota’s toll to 2,199. None of the new deaths were in south-central Minnesota.

Among those who’ve died, about 70% had been living in long-term care or assisted living facilities; most had underlying health problems.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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