The Free Press and MPR News
MANKATO — Five of the nine south-central Minnesota counties had more new COVID-19 cases this week than the week before.
Blue Earth, Nicollet, Le Sueur, Watonwan and Faribault counties all had an uptick in new cases this week. Waseca County’s new case total remained level, while Brown, Sibley and Martin counties had fewer cases this week.
The rise from 82 new cases last week to 89 this week in Blue Earth County came despite the rate of positive cases dropping during roughly the same time period.
Blue Earth County had more testing between July 22-29 compared to the previous week, leading the rate of positives to decrease from 7.1% to 5.9%. Nicollet County’s week-to-week case total rose from 34 to 46 even though testing took a dip, resulting in a rise in its positivity rate from 3.6% to 5.5%.
Le Sueur County had a similar increase in new cases and the rate of positives this week, but testing levels rose. The county went from 20 new cases last week to 28 this week, and its rate of positives rose from 4.6% to 6.3%.
Sibley County’s three new cases this week were the fewest in the region. Its positivity rate dropped as well, with only Faribault and Martin counties having lower rates.
As for new cases confirmed Friday, Blue Earth County’s 21 were the most in the region. It was one of eight counties in the area with new cases confirmed, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The full list of new cases in the region includes:
• Blue Earth County — 21
• Nicollet County — 11
• Waseca County — Six
• Martin County — Four
• Le Sueur County — Two
• Faribault County — Two
• Brown County — One
• Watonwan County — One
COVID hospitalizations are also on the rise statewide and in Blue Earth County. County public health data showed seven residents with COVID hospitalized in the Mankato area as of Thursday, including two in intensive care units.
The figure was as low as one hospitalization on July 22 but has risen since. Minnesota’s overall hospitalization numbers started rising around the same date.
The state’s ICU hospitalizations for COVID — 151 — reached their highest point since late June on Friday. Non-ICU hospitalizations — 161 — rose by four compared to the previous day.
Another six Minnesotans with COVID died Friday, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,600 since the pandemic began. The daily increase in deaths only reached double digits once in July.