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Six Southeast Minnesota counties deemed areas of high COVID transmission

Latest federal report indicates virus is spreading throughout portion of the state as it remains low elsewhere.

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ROCHESTER — Six of eight counties in Southeast Minnesota are listed as areas of high COVID-19 transmission based on federal updates released Thursday.

Olmsted County is joined by Dodge, Fillmore, Houston, Wabasha and Winona counties, in reporting case rates above 200 per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period.

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For Olmsted County, which has the highest rate at 453.6 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, it’s a 32 percent increase compared to last week.

The increase comes with a hospital admission rate of 15.4 people per 100,000 reported in five of the six local counties. Houston County’s reported admission rate is slightly lower at 14.8 admissions per 100,000 residents.

Mower County reports the lowest confirmed case rate at 174.7 per 100,000 residents, alongside a hospital admission rate of 15.4 per 100,000. The combination makes the county an area of medium transmission under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.


Goodhue County also escaped the “high” rating. While it has 237.4 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, the reported hospitalization rate has remained at five per 100,000 people.

The CDC guidelines base transmission status on a combination of confirmed cases per 100,000 residents during a seven-day period, as well as the hospitalization rate and the percentage of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients.

None of the Southeast Minnesota counties report more than 3.4% of its available hospital beds are filled with COVID patients.

In Olmsted County, 2.3% of the staffed beds are being used by people with COVID.

The six Southeast Minnesota counties deemed as areas of high COVID transmission are joined by Rice, Roseau and Lake of the Woods counties in the federal designation.

The geographic majority of the state remains classified as areas of low transmission.

Since Olmsted County returned to being an area of high COVID transmission last month, public health officials have encouraged residents to take actions to reduce the rate of spread.

Recommendations include:


  • Wearing a mask indoors in public.
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine and staying up to date with boosters.
  • Getting tested if COVID-19 symptoms appear.
  • Following the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidance when ill with COVID-19.
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
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