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New COVID-19 cases decline but numbers remain high

While cases declined, reported hospitalizations due to COVID-19 among Crow Wing residents increased sharply during the same time period.

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Photo illustration by Metro Newspaper Service

BRAINERD โ€” The number of new COVID-19 cases in the region continued a steep decline Friday, Feb. 11, from a record-setting peak two weeks earlier.

At 420, however, the number of new cases reported in Crow Wing County by the Minnesota Department of Health between Feb. 4 and Friday remained among the highest single-week totals since November 2020.

While cases declined, reported hospitalizations due to COVID-19 among Crow Wing residents increased sharply during the same time period. The health department reported a total of 58 new hospitalizations in the last two weeks, with 21 of those reported this week. Itโ€™s likely at least some of this data was backlogged, given the unprecedented number of positive cases due to the omicron variant made it difficult for state health officials to keep pace.

Staffed intensive care unit bed availability in the central region of the state is in better shape than itโ€™s been for months, according to hospital capacity data as of Thursday. A total of 18 ICU beds were available, representing 17.5% of all ICU beds in the region. Of the 81 ICU beds occupied, 15 were COVID-19 patients.

The ICU at Essentia Health-St. Josephโ€™s Medical Center in Brainerd cared for eight patients as of Friday, three of whom were there for COVID-19 complications and none of whom were vaccinated.

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The deaths of 12 regional residents were among those reported this week, with four of those hailing from Crow Wing: a 75- to 79-year-old man, a 70- to 74-year-old man, a 65- to 69-year-old woman and a 55- to 59-year-old woman. Three Mille Lacs County residents died, including two 75- to 79-year-olds and a 90- to 94-year-old. Cass County recorded two deaths among those ages 65-69 and 75-79, while Morrison County saw the deaths of two residents as well, ages 60-64 and 100+. One Wadena County resident died, age 85-89.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

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