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The Minnesota Department of Health's testing lab handles samples of COVID-19.

MANKATO — South-central Minnesota's COVID-19 pandemic death toll reached 300 Thursday, with five more fatalities confirmed in the region.

The deaths occurred in two Blue Earth County residents between 75-79 and 95-99 years old, and three Faribault County residents between 60-64, 80-84 and 85-89 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. They were among 25 confirmed COVID-19 deaths statewide Thursday, raising Minnesota's pandemic toll to 8,379.

Fueled by the more contagious delta variant, the nine-county region already has more confirmed COVID-19 deaths in October than any month since January.

The October death toll rose to 21 through just 14 days. All of September had 16 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.

Blue Earth County's death toll is up to 59 during the pandemic, the most in the region. Its death rate per 10,000 residents, however, remains the second lowest among nine area counties. 

Faribault County's 30 COVID-19 fatalities among a smaller population give it the highest death rate per 10,000 residents in south-central Minnesota. 

The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths statewide occurred in unvaccinated residents. About 47% of south-central Minnesota residents aren't vaccinated, below the statewide mark of about 38%.

Area counties also combined for 107 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases Thursday, down from 150 a week ago. This week's case total is now on track to be about level compared to last week. 

The full list of new cases by county includes:

  • Blue Earth County — 30
  • Nicollet County — 18
  • Martin County — 14
  • Brown County — 13
  • Faribault County — 11
  • Le Sueur County — 8
  • Waseca County — 8
  • Sibley County — 4
  • Watonwan County  — 1

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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