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Minnesota is down to just 1 county without substantial or high COVID-19 transmission

That means a mask is recommended for everyone in public, indoor spaces.

Big Stone is the only county in Minnesota not considered a COVID-19 hotspot.

Community transmission rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show 86 of the state's 87 counties with "substantial" or "high" transmission. Those are the two most severe categorizations. 

The CDC recommends everyone in areas with substantial or high transmission, regardless of vaccination status, wear a face covering while in a public, indoor space.

Related: Hennepin Healthcare doctor: Only go to the State Fair 'if you're vaccinated'

It took only a month (when the CDC announced its new guidance on July 27) for the state to go from 14 of these transmission hotspots to the current number of 86. 

At that time, four counties fell into the most-severe high transmission category. 

As of Thursday's update, a whopping 80 Minnesota counties have high transmission (red on the map to the right), while six have substantial transmission (orange). 

Big Stone is the lone "moderate" county, and none fall into the "low" transmission bracket. 

Here's a list of the high counties:

  1. Aitkin County
  2. Anoka County
  3. Becker County
  4. Beltrami County
  5. Benton County
  6. Blue Earth County
  7. Brown County
  8. Carlton County
  9. Carver County
  10. Cass County
  11. Chippewa County
  12. Chisago County
  13. Clay County
  14. Clearwater County
  15. Cook County
  16. Cottonwood County
  17. Crow Wing County
  18. Dakota County
  19. Dodge County
  20. Douglas County
  21. Faribault County
  22. Fillmore County
  23. Freeborn County
  24. Goodhue County
  25. Grant County
  26. Hennepin County
  27. Houston County
  28. Hubbard County
  29. Isanti County
  30. Itasca County
  31. Jackson County
  32. Kanabec County
  33. Kandiyohi County
  34. Kittson County
  35. Koochiching County
  36. Lac qui Parle County
  37. Le Sueur County
  38. Lyon County
  39. Mahnomen County
  40. Marshall County
  41. Martin County
  42. McLeod County
  43. Meeker County
  44. Mille Lacs County
  45. Morrison County
  46. Mower County
  47. Murray County
  48. Nicollet County
  49. Nobles County
  50. Norman County
  51. Olmsted County
  52. Otter Tail County
  53. Pennington County
  54. Pine County
  55. Pipestone County
  56. Polk County
  57. Pope County
  58. Ramsey County
  59. Red Lake County
  60. Redwood County
  61. Renville County
  62. Rice County
  63. Rock County
  64. Roseau County
  65. Scott County
  66. Sherburne County
  67. Sibley County
  68. St. Louis County
  69. Stearns County
  70. Steele County
  71. Stevens County
  72. Swift County
  73. Todd County
  74. Wabasha County
  75. Waseca County
  76. Washington County
  77. Watonwan County
  78. Winona County
  79. Wright County
  80. Yellow Medicine County

And here are the substantial counties:

  1. Lake County
  2. Lake of the Woods County
  3. Lincoln County
  4. Traverse County
  5. Wadena County
  6. Wilkin County

While still below the peaks seen during the winter of 2020-21, COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have been trending in the wrong direction throughout August. Health officials say it's been fueled by the delta variant, which is more easily transmitted from person to person. 

Related: Delta variant among numerous issues putting strain on Minnesota hospitals

The current vaccines continue to show effectiveness when it comes to preventing severe cases of the disease, hospitalization or death compared to those who are not vaccinated, though one recent study shows they are not quite as effective at preventing infection compared to pre-delta strains.

The U.S. plans to begin offering booster shots to vaccinated individuals starting Sept. 20.

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