The rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota in November can now be visualized by looking at the infection rates for all 87 counties, and it's not pretty.
According to the health department, 86 of 87 counties have exceeded the 50 cases per 10,000 residents that serves as a threshold to move all elementary, middle and high school classes to 100% distance learning, as most school districts in Minnesota already have.
What's more is that there are 28 counties – 32% of Minnesota's counties – have blasted way past 50 cases per 10,000 residents and surpassed 200 cases per 10,000 residents. The data below represents cases per 10,000 residents for the two-week period ending Nov. 21.
- Cottonwood: 298.98 cases per 10,000 residents
- Kandiyohi: 296.31
- Roseau: 281.33
- Douglas: 279.55
- McLeod: 265.18
- Polk: 264.00
- Rock: 260.28
- Lyon: 258.14
- Redwood: 255.69
- Morrison: 252.21
- Benton: 248.12
- Stearns: 247.16
- Becker: 236.58
- Meeker: 226.18
- Brown: 224.90
- Clearwater: 222.42
- Renville: 218.06
- Sibley: 217.95
- Rice: 217.59
- Sherburne: 216.02
- Otter Tail: 214.51
- Mille Lacs: 210.67
- Pipestone: 207.95
- Wright: 205.96
- Aitkin: 205.89
- Mahnomen: 203.41
- Wilkin: 203.37
- Swift: 200.83
Eighteen more counties have at least 170 cases per 10,000 residents.
What exactly does approximately 299 cases per 10,000 residents mean for Cottonwood County? The 2018 census estimated population for Cottonwood County was 11,277. Based on 299 cases per 10,000 residents, it equates to approximately 337 people testing positive for COVID-19 between Nov. 8 and Nov. 21.
Here are the infection rates for the seven-county metro:
- Anoka: 196.41 (down from 197.68 last week's report)
- Carver: 171.88 (up from 146.89 last week's report)
- Dakota: 156.96 (up from 138.23 last week's report)
- Hennepin: 131.86 (up from 125.46 last week's report)
- Ramsey: 129.84 (up from 122.79 last week's report)
- Scott: 190.20 (up from 172.14 last week's report)
- Washington: 155.97 (up from 146.18 last week's report)
Hennepin County's 2018 population was estimated to be 1,258,000. That means 131.86 cases per 10,000 residents equates to approximately 16,588 people in the county testing positive for COVID-19 between Nov. 8 and Nov. 21.
Doing the same math, here's approximately how many people tested positive in each metro-area county between Nov. 8 and Nov. 21.
- Anoka: 6,942
- Carver: 1,779
- Dakota: 6,671
- Hennepin: 16,588
- Ramsey: 7,126
- Scott: 2,799
- Washington: 4,038
Using the same calculation, you can see why hospitals in west-central Minnesota have been stressed, namely Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, which had to divert patients to other hospitals at some point in 10 of the first 11 days of November, according to a Carris Health spokesperson.
Rice Memorial Hospital is located in Kandiyohi County, which is second in the state at 296.31 cases per 10,000 residents. Nearly 43,000 people live in Kandiyohi County, meaning its infection rate of nearly 300 equates to 1,271 people testing positive in the two weeks ending Nov. 21. That's nearly as many people testing positive as in Carver County, which has more than twice as many residents.