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October was deadly month of widespread COVID-19 infection for region

The 2,672 cases added in October account for 59% of all laboratory-confirmed cases since March.

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October 2020 was the month the coronavirus wave crashed hard into north-central Minnesota.

Nearly three-fifths of all the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the seven-county region were reported during the month of October.

When September ended, there were 1,878 total confirmed cases between Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties. October closed with 4,550 cases among the seven counties — a 142% increase. The 2,672 cases added in October account for 59% of all laboratory-confirmed cases since March.


While cases increased, so did deaths due to complications associated with COVID-19. At the end of September, a total of 30 deaths had been recorded. Now, that figure stands at 70, with 39 occurring during the month of October. An Aitkin County resident was the 70th death and the first recorded in November. Mille Lacs County experienced a particularly deadly month — 17 of the county’s 20 total deaths occurred in October. Two of those were reported Saturday, Oct. 31, and both were residents in their early 90s.

During the most recent weeks for which data is available, five of the seven area counties saw their positivity rates increase, according to the weekly Minnesota report issued Oct. 25 by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Cass, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties experienced an increase in the positivity rate of 2.1% or higher during the week of Oct. 17-23, as compared to the previous week. Crow Wing County’s rate increased between 0.6-2%. Aitkin and Mille Lacs counties both experienced drops in positivity rates between those weeks of 2.1% or more.

These regional counties are not alone — overall, rural Minnesota is accounting for a larger portion of new positive cases than it has at any other point in the pandemic. Friday’s record-breaking day for the state saw 55% of the cases originating in Greater Minnesota, while those areas of the state have just 45% of the population.

COVID-19 data as of Nov. 1

  • Aitkin — 232 (+18 since Friday, Oct. 30), with three (+1) deaths.

  • Cass — 471 (+33), with five deaths.

  • Crow Wing — 1,279 (+71), with 22 deaths.

  • Mille Lacs — 498 (+27), with 20 (+2) deaths.

  • Morrison — 903 (+51), with 10 deaths.

  • Todd — 975 (+42), with seven deaths.

  • Wadena — 298 (+24), with three deaths.

NOTE: These numbers are cumulative since March 21 and many are out of isolation.

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