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The Free Press

MANKATO — Three more COVID-19 fatalities confirmed Monday raised the region’s death toll to 14 in October.

The deaths occurred in a Nicollet County resident between 75-79 years old, a Faribault County resident between 85-89 years old and a Martin County resident between 80-84 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. They were among 25 deaths linked to the illness statewide Monday, raising Minnesota’s pandemic death toll to 8,320.

October is well on pace to have more COVID-19 fatalities than September, which had 16. The region has only twice had months averaging at least one confirmed COVID-19 death per day — November and December 2020.

South-central Minnesota counties have combined for 293 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 during the pandemic. The recent uptick in deaths came after weeks of rising case counts in the nine-county region.

The vast majority of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota occurred in unvaccinated residents. Data through Sept. 12 showed about 1.2% of vaccinated Minnesotans later had breakthrough cases, while .06% were later hospitalized and .007% later died from COVID-19.

The Nicollet County death raised its pandemic toll to 50. Martin County now has 34 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Faribault County’s 27 are the third-lowest total in the region, but it has the highest death rate per 10,000 residents.

COVID-19 illnesses among staff, along with illnesses from influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, caused Maple River Public Schools to cancel class Monday and Tuesday, according to a notice from the district. After-school activities continued.

“We are lacking enough staff to cover all of our classes,” the notice stated.

Area counties also combined for 197 new cases Monday, down from 217 the previous Monday. Martin County’s 50 new cases were the most in the region.

The full list of new cases confirmed Wednesday includes:

•Martin County — 50

•Blue Earth County — 32

•Nicollet County — 27

•Faribault County — 21

•Le Sueur County — 20

•Brown County — 17

•Waseca County — 14

•Sibley County — 11

•Watonwan County — 5

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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