The Free Press

MANKATO — South-central Minnesota only had a 1% increase in new COVID-19 cases this week.

Area counties went from a combined 560 cases between Aug. 28-Sept. 3 to 565 cases between Sept. 4-10, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

The steadier case levels came after a run of weeks with slowing case growth in the region, although it’s too early to tell whether this latest wave has peaked. Despite the minuscule rise in cases, it was also the 10th straight week the region had an increase.

Minnesota had 18 more COVID-19 deaths confirmed Friday, raising the state’s pandemic death toll to 7,892. The ages ranged from a person between 45-49 years old in Freeborn County to a person between 95-99 years old in Hennepin County.

Encouragingly, three area counties had declines in new case counts this week. Nicollet, Le Sueur and Waseca counties had drops of 8%, 16% and 20%, respectively.

Brown and Martin counties had level case counts during the last two weeks. Brown County had 55 new cases each week, while Martin County had 40.

Blue Earth County’s case count rose by 13% this week, growing from 140 to 158. The uptick was a change from the drop in cases the county had during the prior week.

Watonwan, Sibley and Faribault counties were the three others with rises in new cases this week. Watonwan County’s case counts have bounced up and down for the last eight weeks, this week rising from 23 to 35.

More than 100 new cases confirmed Friday contributed to this week’s total. Blue Earth County accounted for 29 of them, while all nine counties had at least four.

The full list of new cases by county includes:

• Blue Earth County — 29

• Waseca County — 14

• Brown County — 12

• Sibley County — 10

• Martin County — 10

• Nicollet County — 9

• Le Sueur County — 9

• Faribault County — 8

• Watonwan County — 4

On vaccinations, about 52.9% of the region’s total population has at least one dose. About 50.2% of the total population is fully vaccinated.

Nicollet County leads the region in first-dose vaccinations with 59.1%. Sibley County’s 46% rate is the lowest in the region.

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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