Crow Wing County reports 10 more COVID-19 hospitalizations Tuesday
The two deaths reported Tuesday bring the regional total of deaths related to COVID-19 to 132.
The number of Crow Wing County residents hospitalized for COVID-19 continues to rise, increasing by 10 people in one day Tuesday, Nov. 24.
According to county officials, 148 Crow Wing County residents experienced symptoms with enough severity to seek hospital-level care. That figure stood at 138 Monday. The deaths of two more area residents were also reported Tuesday — an Aitkin County resident age 85-89 and a 70- to 74-year-old Crow Wing County man, who died Saturday.
Crow Wing hospitalizations
The escalation in hospitalizations in Crow Wing County tracks with the precipitous rise in confirmed cases in the county over the course of the autumn months. During September, for instance, there were 12 hospitalizations reported over the course of the entire month. Daily case increases typically ranged from three to five new cases in the first half of the month, with several days showing no increases at all. On Sept. 1, there were 314 confirmed cases. Sept. 30 ended with 563, an increase of 249 in 30 days.
October saw 31 hospitalizations reported and the number of cases reported daily began to increase — the beginning of the month saw 15-20 cases per day, while the month ended daily totals reaching into the 40s and 50s. A total of 674 new cases were confirmed during October in Crow Wing County, ending with 1,255 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among county residents.
For November — with six days remaining — the number of hospitalizations nearly tripled in comparison to October’s numbers. A total of 84 residents have been hospitalized so far in November and confirmed cases during the month are set to exceed 2,000 by a significant margin, based on the current trajectory.
The two deaths reported Tuesday bring the seven-county regional total of deaths related to COVID-19 to 132. Of these 132 deaths, at least 76 were among those living in congregate care facilities, based on figures released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The seven area counties include Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena.
Forty-seven of these facilities in the area reported exposures since the spring, including four added to the state’s list Friday — Central Minnesota Senior Care in Brainerd, Harmony House of Brainerd, Whitefish at the Lakes in Crosslake and Woodside Manor Assisted Living in Menahga. More than half, or 24, of these facilities reported fewer than 10 cases, including the four newest reports.
Fourteen of the area facilities reported at least one death, with seven of those reporting more than one death. The vast majority of area deaths in congregate care are concentrated in three places: Elim Care & Rehab Center of Milaca in Mille Lacs County, reporting 21 deaths; Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd, reporting 17 deaths; and Aicota Health Care Center in Aitkin, reporting 16 deaths.
CentraCare’s long-term care facility in Long Prairie recorded seven resident deaths, while three others reported more than one death: Elim Wellspring assisted living of Princeton in Mille Lacs County, three deaths; Harmony House of Motley in Morrison County, three deaths; and Pierz Villa in Morrison County, two deaths.
Six more local restaurants and bars were identified Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health as sites of COVID-19 outbreaks during the month of November. Cases are considered unique when the infected person reports that site as the only location they visited during the time frame of possible infection.
Establishments include 371 Diner with 11 cases, six of which are unique; Buffalo Wild Wings in Baxter, 14 cases and eight unique; Grizzly’s Wood-Fired Grill in Baxter, with 12 cases and six unique; Mission Tavern in Mission Township, 18 cases with six unique; The Sidetrack in Unorganized Territory, 19 cases and nine unique; and Perkins Restaurant in Little Falls, tied to seven cases, all of which were unique.
Though cases report visiting at least one of the investigated establishments, this may not be the true source of their infection, the health department notes on its list. Secondary cases — or further transmission from these cases to household members, co-workers or others — are not included in this report.
The health department recently updated its thresholds for which restaurants or bars it considers outbreak locations. For cases investigated after Nov. 13, five unrelated cases from five households mentioning only the one restaurant or bar within one month of infection are now considered outbreaks.
Doug Schultz, information officer with the health department, said earlier this month the agency is trying to move people away from focusing on the specific locations of outbreaks given the widespread nature of infection at this point.
“The spread is really happening everywhere and comes from all of us,” Schultz wrote in an email.
COVID-19 data as of Nov. 24
Aitkin — 692 (+98 since Friday, Nov. 20), with 24 (+5) deaths.
Cass — 1,236 (+142), with eight deaths.
Crow Wing — 3,241 (+332), with 31 (+3) deaths.
Mille Lacs — 1,365 (+164), with 30 deaths.
Morrison — 2,153 (+219), with 21 (+1) deaths.
Todd — 1,674 (+120), with 12 deaths.
Wadena — 716 (+78), with six deaths.
NOTE: These numbers are cumulative since March 21 and many are out of isolation.
CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .