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Mower seeing substantial spread of COVID-19

Masks now recommended indoors, overcrowded places regardless of vaccination status

 

As COVID-19 continues to rise in the state, so do cases in Mower County.

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported that Mower saw a rise of eight cumulative cases (six confirmed, two probable), with a double digit rise earlier in the week.

Then on Friday, another nine confirmed cases were reported.

This increase has resulted in the Centers for Disease Control reporting that Mower has reached the substantial spread category, according to Community Health Division Manager Pam Kellogg.

“We were previously in the moderate category,” Kellogg said Thursday morning. “Public Health is following the guidance of (Minnesota Department of Health) and CDC. It is recommended that everyone, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear a mask in public, indoor settings.”

This is a concerning development for the county which had previously been seeing a very limited rise in COVID-19 cases over recent months. Especially considering that the Mower County Fair begins in earnest on Tuesday, where large crowds are expected throughout the six days.

But now, Mower is mirroring several other counties in southeastern Minnesota that have also seen substantial case increases.

Recently, Mower reached 52.42 cases per 100,000 over the last seven days, reflecting a 40% increase. The threshold for substantial spread is 50 per 100,000.

“Over the past week, the southeast region had the highest weekly incident rate in the state,” Kellogg said. “The Delta variant has been detected in multiple southeast counties.

Locally however, there has been no clear evidence that Delta variant is having an impact, though it can’t be ruled out either.

“As far as variants, the few samples that they have tested so far, none have been the Delta variant,” Kellogg said. “It doesn’t mean Delta is not here, it just hasn’t been found yet on sampling.”

Countywide, Mower’s rolling COVID-19 case average is three cases a day; however, over the course of 14 days, from July 22-Aug. 4, Mower has seen an overall rise of 41 cases, according to a rolling count by the New York Times, which tracks cases across the United States.

As of Friday, the county has reported 4,824 cumulative cases and 34 deaths.

Statewide on Friday, there were 1,012 new cumulative cases with six new deaths. These new cases are largely being driven by the Delta variant of the virus.

Despite a rising positive test rate, the state is still trending below concerning levels.