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Morrison County recorded two deaths from COVID-19 last week, after going nearly a month without one.

One of the Morrison County residents who died during the week of Oct. 8 - 14 was between ages 50 - 54, according to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The other was in the 40 - 44 age range. That brings the total number of residents in the county who have died from COVID-19 to 65 since June 2020.

The deaths coincide with a continued surge felt throughout the area. Morrison County Public Health reported more than 230 new cases — 232, to be exact — for the second consecutive week.

As of Thursday, there had been a total of 468 cases recorded within the county since Oct. 1, an average of about 33 per day. There have been a total of 5,380 infections in the county since the start of the pandemic.

The average age of all those cases dropped to 42, during the past week.

Morrison County’s positivity rate also went up again between Oct. 8 - 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 19.31% of the people tested within the county were positive over the past week, a slight increase from 17.21% between Oct. 1 - 7.

There were six people in Morrison County hospitalized between Oct. 8 - 14, bringing that total since the start of the pandemic to 285. As of Thursday, there were 396 active cases county-wide, up 42 from the 354 reported on Oct. 7.

Little Falls continues to be the county’s hot spot, with 173 active infections, as of Thursday. Morrison County Public Health also reported that there were 41 active cases among people with Royalton ZIP codes and 35 from Pierz. Randall (29), Swanville (23), Motley (18), Cushing (18) Hillman (16) and Bowlus (15) give the county eight total communities with more than 10 current infections, as of Thursday.

There were four local school buildings with known outbreaks for the second week in a row, according to MDH. Little Falls Community Middle School, Little Falls Community High School, Royalton Elementary and Royalton Middle School all have students within their ranks who are infected with COVID-19. As of Thursday, there are also two congregate living facilities — Little Falls Health Services Care Center and St. Otto’s Care Center — with active cases.

Morrison County’s vaccination rate remains one of the lowest in the state. A total of 42% of all residents within the county have received at least one shot — 13,886. By comparison, the state of Minnesota as a whole has a vaccination rate of 76.9%. There are only six counties — Todd, Wadena, Clearwater, Meeker, Pine and Mille Lacs — with lower vaccination rates than Morrison County, according to MDH.

The number of new cases and deaths throughout Minnesota remained relatively flat compared to the week before in the period of Oct. 8 - 14.

MDH reported 20,059 new cases during the last week, a slight drop from 20,907 between Oct. 1 - 7. There were 104 deaths recorded an average of 15 per day. That is down from 122 — about 17 per day — between Oct. 1 - 7.

The pandemic-long total for number of cases and deaths throughout Minnesota sit at 752,060 and 8,379, respectively, as of Thursday.

Cases and deaths were down slightly throughout the United States between Oct. 7 - 13, according to the CDC.

The community transmission rate remains high throughout most of the country, though there have been a few spots — namely, California, Alabama, Florida and Connecticut — that dropped into the “moderate” range. As a whole, 76.7% of all Americans 12 and up have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

During the past week, there were 639,601 new cases reported nationwide, down just a bit from the 708,694 reported the week before. Deaths also went down, going from 12,716 between Sept. 30 - Oct. 7 to 12,137 last week.

In all, 44.518 million Americans been infected with COVID-19 since January 2020, and 716,370 have died — a death rate of about 1.61%.

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