The Minnesota Department of Health reported increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases in two area counties Wednesday, May 13, while also warning this week’s data is incomplete.

Todd and Morrison counties each added two new cases to their counts. Todd continues to top area counties in total numbers as well as per capita case rates, with 44 cases recorded so far. Morrison’s case numbers are consistently rising as well, doubling from nine to 18 in eight days.

Changes to the state’s daily situation update for the coronavirus appeared Wednesday with updated graphics and charts. It also included a new message alongside Minnesota’s case overview: “Due to the need to confirm reports and reporting delays, current week data may be incomplete.”

The state health department is in the process of ramping up its contact tracing efforts as case numbers continue to rise. Some county public health departments are training employees to assist in those efforts, including Crow Wing County’s. Crow Wing County Administrator Tim Houle said Tuesday the county’s participation is voluntary and training is underway at the local level. He said the partnership comes as the state acknowledges its own staff is unable to keep up with the task on its own.

“An example of that occurred during the training that public health went through just yesterday (Monday),” Houle said. “They had a real call of a contact trace that they were using as part of the training. This particular person tested positive on April 30 and the follow-up was being done on May 11. By May 11, they’re almost through the 14 days themselves, let alone how many other people did they come in contact with during those 11 days.

“Fast response is critically important, and we have a good example of that in our community in that we had an outbreak at Teen Challenge that everybody is aware of. They did a very effective job at contact tracing and doing isolation and quarantine, which limited that outbreak and contained it.”

The Minnesota Department of Health set up COVID-19 hotlines available every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.:

  • School and child care questions: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.

  • Health questions: 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.

Visit cdc.gov and health.state.mn.us for more information about COVID-19.

Cases by county as of May 13

  • Aitkin — 2.

  • Cass — 8, with 2 deaths.

  • Crow Wing — 23, with 1 death.

  • Mille Lacs — 7, with 1 death.

  • Morrison — 18.

  • Todd — 44.

  • Wadena — 4.

Compiled from Minnesota Department of Health data and county sources.

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CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey