MANKATO – A COVID-19 death confirmed Thursday in Brown County increased the South Central region’s monthly death toll from the disease to 25, as case metrics otherwise continue to trend downward.
The resident of Brown County was between 70-74 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Minnesota had 47 recently confirmed COVID-19 deaths across the country, raising the state’s pandemic to 12,066.
Southern Minnesota’s pandemic number rose to 474, with the death rate in February slightly on its way to the peak of January.
January ended with 30 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in the nine counties. The previous three months each had at least 41.
Other COVID-19 metrics, including the number of cases and the number of positive tests, continue to decline in comparison.
One difference this week is that counties in the area will not see such a large drop in cases compared to last week, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The week of 12-18. February had 46.3% fewer cases than the previous week, while this week’s total is 44.4% lower so far with another day of cases to take into account.
Positivity data from this week showed a similar trend of decline, but also signs that the decline was slowing compared to the rapid downturns in late January and earlier in February.
Southern Minnesota had also not nearly fallen in positive test rates that the state had in general. The nine-county region went from 8.9% to 7.4% of the tests as positive compared to Minnesota’s drop from 8.9% to 4.7%.
Positivity rates of 5% or less have long been considered as encouraging measures that case dispersion is under control. Two counties, Waseca and Brown, achieved the distinction in south central Minnesota.
Three other counties, including Blue Earth County, had positivity increases. Blue Earth County went from 8.28% to 9.04%, which was a more gradual increase than Sibley County’s increase from 9.84% to 10.72% and Le Sueur County’s increase from 7.5% to 12.4% .
Breakthrough data from this week continued to show that vaccinated Minnesota residents have lower incidence of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths compared to unvaccinated Minnesota residents. The difference is particularly large for hospitalizations and deaths, and even sharper when comparing unvaccinated individuals with people who have received COVID-19 boosters.