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Olmsted, Winona counties are areas of high COVID transmission

Much of the region also saw an increase in the number reported COVID-related hospitalizations to 13.4 per 100,000, which increased most counties to medium transmission status.

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Olmsted and Winona counties are considered areas of high community transmission of COVID-19, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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ROCHESTER — COVID transmission rates varied throughout Southeast Minnesota, with three counties seeing declines as five saw increases.

Olmsted County remained classified as an area of high community transmission under federal guidelines as the number of reported cases during a seven-day period increased by nearly 6.5%.

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Counties surrounding Olmsted remain areas of medium COVID transmission status under federal guidelines.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that the county had 205.3 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents in its weekly report on Thursday.

The increase comes amid the reported spread of the BA.5 omicron variant, which Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, has said is hypercontagious and has contributed to increases in hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

"Right now, we don't have any evidence that it leads to a higher death rate. So that's good," Poland said in a recent report released by Mayo Clinic. "Nonetheless, among the unvaccinated with this variant, they're about fivefold more likely to get infected than people who have been vaccinated and boosted, about seven-and-a-hajf times more likely to be hospitalized, and about 14 to 15 times more likely to die if they get infected."

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Winona County reportedly saw the highest case-rate increase in the region during the past week, with nearly 214 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, which was a 42.1 cases per 100,000 increase from the previous week.

Much of the region also saw an increase in the number reported COVID-related hospitalizations to 13.4 per 100,000, which increased most counties to medium transmission status.

Goodhue County, which has its own hospitalization data, was the only Southeast Minnesota county to remain classified as an area of low community transmission. It’s seven-day hospitalization rate was 6.1 per 100,000 residents, with a new case rate of 151, which was a 9.4% weekly increase.

Here’s how the case rates unfolded in the rest of the region:

  • Dodge County, 100.32 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, for a 27.58% decrease.
  • Fillmore County, 142.4 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, for a 30.43% increase.
  • Houston County, 204.3 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, for a 8.57% increase.
  • Mower County, 139.78 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, for an 8.2% decrease.
  • Wabasha County, 134.09 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, for a nearly 34.1% decrease

By comparison, the statewide seven-day case rate increased by nearly 31.5% with 168.8 new confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.
Three other Minnesota counties join Olmsted and Winona as areas considered to have high community transmission of COVID. They are Kittson, Martin and Wadena counties.

With cases increasing in the region, Olmsted County Public Health has offered suggestions for reducing the impacts. They are:

  • Wearing a mask indoors in public.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine and staying up to date with boosters.
  • Getting tested when symptoms occur.
  • Following the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidance when ill.
Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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