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The number of new COVID-19 cases doubled locally during the week of Aug. 20 - 26.

After remaining relatively flat the previous couple of weeks, Morrison County’s numbers spiked last week. There were 59 new cases reported over the seven-day period, compared to only 28 the week before. The number reported per day jumped from four to more than eight.

The active case rate — after sitting tight at 58 for two consecutive weeks — jumped to 80, as of Thursday. That means about 24.1 people per 10,000 in the county are currently infected with COVID-19.

Nearly half of the active cases reside within the Little Falls ZIP code; there are 36. The number of infections jumped substantially in Royalton — from seven on Aug. 19 to 17 on Aug. 26 — and in Pierz, from four to 11. Bowlus also saw an increase in the number of cases, as it sits at seven active.

Morrison County did notch its eighth consecutive week without a death, leaving that number steady at 62 since late June. There were two new hospitalizations between Aug. 20 - 26, however, after two weeks of zero. There have been 266 Morrison County residents hospitalized from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of long-term care facilities with a known infection also went up slightly. There was only one listed on Aug. 19, but both St. Otto’s Care Center and Little Falls Health Services Care Center were listed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Thursday.

Vaccinations among Morrison County residents slowed slightly during the past week, though it did reach the 50% milestone in percentage of adults age 18 and up to have received at least one shot. A total of 13,470 local adults had gotten at least one shot, as of Aug. 24 — 143 more than what was measured on Aug. 17. Of those, 12,507 are fully vaccinated, an increase of 148 over last week.

There are now five counties in the state with lower vaccination percentages than Morrison, according to MDH. That is an improvement from having the fourth lowest rate the week before.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still lists Morrison County as having high community spread. It has received that designation for two straight weeks. A total of 80 of Minnesota’s 87 counties are counted as high, with six receiving the next highest rating, substantial, and only one — Big Stone County in western Minnesota — listed as moderate.

That helps explain the rise in cases statewide, where the new infections jumped to 10,430 between Aug. 20 - 26 compared to 8,331 the week before. That’s a difference of 300 new infections per day and puts Minnesota at 642,288 total over the last 18 months, according to MDH.

The number of deaths also increased during the past week. Forty-three Minnesotans died from COVID-19 last week, 16 more than the prior week. The average number of deaths per day climbed from four to six, and 7,793 residents of the state have now died since the start of pandemic.

As of Aug. 24, 3.295 million — 74.2% of adults — have been vaccinated in Minnesota.

The trend is about the same on the national scale.

The CDC reported 1.053 million new infections between Aug. 19 - 25. The number of deaths nationally rose to 629,139 as of Wednesday — 7,795 more than what was reported on Aug. 18. The country is averaging more than 1,000 deaths per day, after that number sat at 698 last week.

A total of 73.4% of Americans over age 18 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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