New cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota continued to decline in the past week, but deaths from the disease continue to gain more traction, as the state saw an 11 percent increase in fatalities in the last week and a 39 percent increase from two weeks ago.

The state added 25,689 new cases in the past week, which is a drop of 11,700 cases from the previous week. However, 457 Minnesotans lost their lives from the disease between Dec. 7-14, up from 412 deaths the week before and 328 deaths from two weeks ago. To date, Minnesota has reported 381,841 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started.

Cases in Tri-County Area

• Scott County added 586 cases in the past week, bringing its total to 10,242. This is significantly less than the 979 cases added the previous week.

Scott County also reported eight new deaths in the past week to bring its total to 71. According to Scott County Public Health, Belle Plaine added 28 new cases in the past week to bring its total to 618 cases.

"[I am] happy to report we are seeing a downward trend," said Scott County Public Health Director Lisa Brodsky in an e-mail. "We are, however, still seeing a high positivity rate at our clinics."

Scott County Public Health reported a nine percent positivity rate this week.

•  Sibley County added 41 new cases (a decrease of 42 cases, or 50 percent) in the past week, bringing its total to 914. The county did not report any new deaths and is holding at four.

According to the Star Tribune’s COVID-19 tracker data, Henderson’s zip code added 10 new cases in the past week to bring its total to 127. Gaylord has reported 238 cases (an increase of 14), Arlington has 187, (an increase of 14), Green Isle has 90 (an increase of 10), Winthrop has 124 (an increase of 13), Gibbon has 96 (an increase of 3), and New Auburn has 14 (no increase).

• Le Sueur County added 102 new cases in the past week, a decrease of 47 percent (90 cases), bringing its total to 1,769 cases. The county also reported one new death, bringing its total to 13. According to the Star Tribune’s COVID-19 tracker data, the city of Le Sueur added 22 new cases in the past week, bringing its total to 409 cases.

Le Sueur County’s 14-day case rate dropped to 130.08 (down from 155.81), which is a little more than double the rate that would require distance learning for all students. The case rate reflects the time period from Nov. 15-28.

Cases in Area Schools

The state reported no changes in affected schools in the past week.

• Affected schools in Sibley County include Hilltop Elementary School in Henderson, Sibley East Elementary in Gaylord, GFW Elementary in Gibbon, and GFW Junior-Senior High in Winthrop.

• Tri-City United High School in Montgomery is also affected in Le Sueur County.

• In Scott County, Prior Lake High School and Shakopee Area Catholic School have reported outbreaks.

Schools are listed if they have reported five or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in students or staff in the building while infectious during a two-week period.

State Overview

The state conducted 310,302 tests in the past week, bringing its total to 4,933,794 tests on approximately 2,774,930 people.

To date, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 4,462 Minnesotans. Of the 457 deaths that occurred in the past week, 272 (59.5 percent) occurred in long-term or assisted living facilities. To date, 2,917 deaths, or 65.4 percent, have been in long-term care or assisted living facilities. At the same time, there have been 14,333 cases in those facilities (a one-week increase of 1,573), which is 3.8 percent of all cases statewide.

Of Minnesota’s total 381,841 cases, 28,650 (an increase of 2,881) have been in health care workers and 347,077 (90.9 percent) no longer need isolation. In the past week, 1,280 people have been hospitalized, bringing the cumulative total to 19,638 since the pandemic started. The state also reported 240 patients needing ICU hospitalization, bringing the cumulative total to 4,255.

Cases in Congregate Care

A number of congregate care facilities in the area have reported COVID-19 exposure in the last 28 days. Exposure is defined as a person diagnosed with COVID-19 who visited, worked, or lived at the facility while contagious.

• Scott County added two new facilities in the past week. Affected facilities include Benedictine Living Community of Shakopee (new), Oak Terrace Senior Housing of Jordan (new), The Gardens at St. Gertrudes in Shakopee, Lutheran Home Belle Plaine, Shakopee Friendship Manor, Savage Senior Living, All Saints Senior Living in Shakopee, Mala Strana Care and Rehab Center in New Prague, McKenna Crossing in Prior Lake, and St. Gertrude’s Health and Rehabilitation Center in Shakopee.

• Sibley County had four facilities drop off the list in the past week. Affected facilities include The Lodge of Winthrop, Good Samaritan Society Winthrop, and Oak Terrace Health Care Center in Gaylord.

• Le Sueur County had one facility drop off in the past week. Affected facilities include Traditions of Waterville, Comfort Residence Le Sueur, Traditions of Montgomery, and Ridgeview Le Sueur Nursing & Rehab Center.

Cases in Age Groups

Demographics for deaths compared to total number of cases are as follows:

• Age 100+: 71 deaths (an increase of 5); 264 total cases (increase of 24)

• Ages 90-99: 1,106 deaths (an increase of 103); 4,700 cases (increase of 444)

• Ages 80-89: 1,560 deaths (an increase of 160); 11,379 cases (increase of 972)

• Ages 70-79: 951 deaths (an increase of 119); 19,547 cases (increase of 1,416)

• Ages 60-69: 488 deaths (an increase of 50); 37,729 cases (increase of 2,586)

• Ages 50-59: 194 deaths (an increase of 13); 54,675 cases (increase of 3,534)

• Ages 40-49: 57 deaths (an increase of 6); 55,195 cases (increase of 3,476)

• Ages 30-39: 29 deaths (an increase of 2); 62,523 cases (increase of 4,084)

• Ages 20-29: 8 deaths (an increase of 2); 73,892 cases (increase of 4,384)

• Ages 5-19: No deaths reported; 54,409 cases (increase of 4,090)

• Ages 0-4: 1 death (no increase); 7,457 cases (increase of 655).

Top Ten Counties in MN

1.  Hennepin: 77,964 (+4,666)

2.  Ramsey: 33,041 (+2,311)

3.  Dakota: 26,742 (+1,974)

4.  Anoka: 25,214 (+1,523)

5.   Washington: 16,478 (+1004)

6.   Stearns: 15,565 (+725)

7.   St. Louis County: 10,872 (+802)

8.   Scott: 10,242 (+586)

9.   Wright: 9,393 (+660)

10. Olmsted: 8,140 (+606)

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