Local COVID-19 stats lowest since last summer
This week is the first time since October 2021 that the health department did not report the death of a Crow Wing County resident from the disease.
BRAINERD — The Minnesota Department of Health reported just 76 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven-county north-central Minnesota region this week.
It’s been nearly nine months since the rate of new cases in the area was equally slow, and it comes amid St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that two years ago marked some of the first events canceled as the pandemic bore down.
This week is the first time since October 2021 the health department did not report the death of a Crow Wing County resident from the disease. And one hospitalization of a Crow Wing resident occurred, according to statistics provided by the county.
The experience of the region is reflective of the state as a whole, which has seen a precipitous decline in COVID-19 cases in the wake of the omicron variant surge subsiding. The seven-day rolling average for new cases across the state in Friday's report was 7.6 per 100,000. This week is the first time since July that measure of case growth dipped below the CDC's "high-risk" threshold of 10 per 100,000.
With spring in the air and optimistic forecasts signaling signs of the waning pandemic, some experts are keeping a close eye on rising cases in Europe prompted by the more contagious BA.2 variant of omicron, despite high vaccination rates.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN the surprising European surge may foretell another wave of cases in the U.S.
“Without a doubt, opening up society and having people mingle indoors is clearly something that is a contributor, as well as overall waning immunity, which means we’ve really got to stay heads-up and keep our eye on the pattern here,” Fauci said. “So that’s the reason why we’re watching this very carefully.”
Local deaths in last month
Aitkin County: One death reported Feb. 16, age 75-79.
Cass County: Six deaths, ages 60-64 (Feb. 14), 85-89 (Feb. 15), 75-79 (Feb. 22), 80-84 (Feb. 24), 85-89 (March 1) and 70-74 (March 2).
Crow Wing County: Seven deaths, ages 55-59 (Feb. 16), 80-84 (Feb. 17), 70-74 (Feb. 22), 55-59 (Feb. 24), 75-79 (Feb. 24), 85-89 (March 3) and 80-84 (March 9).
Mille Lacs County: Five deaths, ages 75-79 (Feb. 16), 70-74 (Feb. 17), 70-74 (Feb. 18), 75-79 (Feb. 22) and 55-59 (March 15).
Morrison County: Five deaths, ages 70-74 (Feb. 28), 75-79 (March 3), 65-69 (March 9), 75-79 (March 10) and 75-79 (March 17).
Todd County: Two deaths, ages 90-94 (March 1) and 65-69 (March 7).
Wadena County: Three deaths, ages 70-74 (Feb. 18), 75-79 (Feb. 24) and 95-99 (March 17).