Reported cases of COVID-19 have leveled off some in Morrison County after a large spike the week before.

Morrison County reported 38 positive cases on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 2,205 since the start of the pandemic. Three deaths were also reported among county residents, with each between between ages 90-99.

That daily total put Morrison County at 566 active cases — those within the 14-day quarantine period — with a case rate of 170.99 infected per 10,000 people.

Of the active cases, 221 were residents with a Little Falls zip code, with 132 living in Pierz and 57 in Royalton.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, only 85 of the cases in Morrison County were reported as being in residents of a long-term care facility. A total of 115 people in the county have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The age range with the highest number of positives is 18-34, with 567 cases (25.71% of the county’s total). People age 50-64 have accounted for 512 cases, 23.22%, while 447 people age 65 and older have tested positive.

Wednesday’s numbers come one week after the county reported more than 500 cases in a two-day span on Nov. 18-19. That was followed by days in the upper-60s, still above what the county had been seeing prior to the recent spike. The county’s case rate surged well above 200.

“I’m not sure why that occurred,” said Morrison County Public Health Director Brad Vold. “We ran the data a couple times. We had 400 cases in one day and over 100 the second day, which has been unheard of. We’ve been averaging about 20-60 per day. I would say for two days we were the hot spot.”

Despite those numbers, Vold said Morrison County’s case rate is still below surrounding counties such as Stearns and Benton.

“We’re hoping now we’re back to a more normal COVID positivity rate,” Vold said.

During the Morrison County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, County Administrator Deb Gruber asked Vold if the high numbers from Nov. 18 - 19 were caused by a backlog in testing.

Vold said that was not the case.

Gruber added that the higher numbers could also be caused, in part, by the fact that the state is now including the rapid antigen test results in its totals.

“It’s more accurately reflecting what’s going on, which is good, but yet that impacts the results and the numbers that come in,” Gruber said.

Vold also noted that at-home tests have now been available for about two weeks statewide. People at home are able to order a test, take it at home and send it in.

“I think a variety of things came together, and that’s why we increased our numbers,” Vold said. “Hopefully it was just a blip on the screen and now it will be back a little more toward normal.”

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