The COVID case rate rose in 73 of Minnesota's 87 counties during the most recent weekly reporting period, an indication of the infection's continued spread across the state.

The case rates (available here) are based on the number of confirmed cases over a one-week period, presented as per 10,000 residents. Thursday's update from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) covers the week of Sept. 26 to Oct. 2.

Seventy-three counties saw their weekly case rate increase compared to the week prior. 

Related: MN hospitals hit lowest point of staffed bed availability during pandemic

The case rate in 13 counties dropped, though one of those was Clearwater, which went from a state-high of 129.4 cases per 10,000 the previous week, down to 103.3 in this most recent week — still the second-highest rate in the state. One county (Traverse) remained stagnant.

At this point, 38 counties have a case rate of at least 50 per 10,000 people. That's the highest possible level denoted by MDH. There were 20 counties above that threshold during the previous week's report.

This graphic from MDH shows the worsening weekly case rates across much of the state. The darker the color, the higher the case rate:

mdh - county case rate 2021.10.14 report

The 38 counties with a case rate of at least 50 per 10,000 residents are all in greater Minnesota. They are:

  1. Norman — 103.7 cases per 10,000 people
  2. Clearwater — 103.3
  3. Marshall — 102.2
  4. Faribault — 97.2
  5. Wadena — 91.6
  6. Beltrami — 86.7
  7. Martin — 81.6
  8. Hubbard — 79.1
  9. Red Lake — 77.3
  10. Polk — 76.9
  11. Becker — 74.9
  12. Todd — 72.4
  13. Yellow Medicine — 71.9
  14. Crow Wing — 71.7
  15. Morrison — 71.6
  16. Benton — 70.4
  17. Kittson — 69.2
  18. Mahnomen — 69
  19. Traverse — 68.9
  20. Cass — 67.5
  21. Douglas — 66.9
  22. McLeod — 62.8
  23. Swift — 61.6
  24. Lyon — 61.1
  25. Meeker — 60.2
  26. Waseca — 59.5
  27. Big Stone — 57.8
  28. Murray — 57.5
  29. Stearns — 57.4
  30. Redwood — 55.4
  31. Roseau — 55
  32. Freeborn — 54.7
  33. Itasca — 52.7
  34. Wright — 51.8
  35. Sherburne — 51.7
  36. Lincoln — 50.8
  37. Kandiyohi — 50.2
  38. Pope — 50.1

The case rate in all seven Twin Cities metro counties went up from the prior week to the most recent. But five of the seven have a case rate below 30 cases per 10,000 people, putting them among the 10 Minnesota counties with the lowest case rates.

Related: Entire Twin Cities is above 70% vaccination rate

The other two counties — Carver at 31.2, Anoka at 39.9 —  are both below 40 cases per 10,000 people. Here are the 10 lowest weekly case rates, according to the most recent MDH report:

  • Cook — 13.2 cases per 10,000 people
  • Ramsey — 19.6
  • Pipestone — 20.7
  • Hennepin — 23.9
  • Dakota — 24.4
  • Washington — 26.3
  • Nicollet — 27.2
  • Goodhue, Winona — 27.3
  • Dodge, Scott — 29.2

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