Wadena County has lost 33 lives due to complications from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in our region in early 2020. That's after two more deaths were reported here on Monday, Nov. 8.

The two Wadena County deaths included one between the ages of 75 and 79 and the other between the ages of 80 and 84.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported across the state 34 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday along with 4,253 new coronavirus cases, the highest single-day number of cases since last December. The Centers for Disease Control states that Wadena County has had 169 active COVID-19 cases in the last seven days.

Daily reporting from the Minnesota Department of Health shows 43,398 tests have been taken for COVID-19 in Wadena County. That's the second highest test rate in the state per 10,000 people. About 6.4% of those tests came back positive. The county's positivity rate was 16% last week, according to the CDC. Meanwhile the first week of October showed Todd County with a positivity rate over 20%. That number has since decreased to the 10-15% range.

Locally, Tri-County Health Care in Wadena noted a 14-day positivity rate of 34%.

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"TCHC has been working at maximum capacity for many weeks," said Tri-County Health Care Director of Quality/Compliance and Incident Commander Tammy Suchy on Tuesday. "The emergency room, Ready Care, clinics, and inpatient settings are all very busy. Due to the inability to transfer our critically ill when needed, we did ask our regional emergency preparedness source for more ventilators. Critical care beds across the entire region are full. All hospitals are struggling to find beds for very sick patients."

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The cumulative case rate per 10,000 people showed Wadena County with the second highest rate in the state last week with 1,918 cases per 10,000 people. The state average was 1,498 per 10,000.

Vaccine data from Friday. Nov. 4, shows 42.6% of Wadena County's total population has at least one dose of vaccine. That's the third lowest vaccination rate in the state, only ahead of Todd (41.8%) and Clearwater (39.1%) counties. Among those age 65 and older, however, almost 82% of the population is fully vaccinated. The low vaccination among younger populations continues to be concerning for health care providers.

"We continue to see the majority of our COVID hospitalizations being unvaccinated individuals," Suchy said. "The best prevention to severe illness with COVID is vaccination. The best defense to keeping our community healthy and putting this surge behind us is vaccination. The best advice I can give is to get vaccinated and stay home if you are sick or have been exposed. Also, please wear a mask when in large groups indoors."

Area hospitals and public health departments continue to offer COVID-19 vaccinations and now include vaccinations for children age 5 and up, with booster shots available to those in a targeted group.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends everyone ages 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination for COVID-19 is a critical tool to best protect everyone, especially those at highest risk, from severe illness and death, according to the CDC. People who are fully vaccinated can safely resume many activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Children ages 5 years and older are able to get an age-appropriate dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Following are the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Monday, Nov. 8. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 4,253

  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES PER 100,000 PEOPLE: 47.4 (as of 10/29)

  • TOTAL CASES, INCLUDING REINFECTIONS: 819,239

  • TOTAL REINFECTIONS: 8,637

  • SEVEN-DAY, ROLLING AVERAGE TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 8.5 (as of 10/29)

Beginning Nov. 1, the MDH has begun to report "reinfections." In keeping with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention terminology, this denotes cases in which a person tests positive more than 90 days after a previous positive test.

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 990

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 42,154

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 34

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 8,517

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 3,486,879

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 3,324,363