COVID-19 updated (copy)

The Free Press

MANKATO — The spike in the number of COVID-19 cases continues in Blue Earth County, but news is better in other south-central Minnesota counties and statewide, according to the latest figures released by the Minnesota Department of Health Saturday morning.

In Blue Earth County, where new cases averaged just over 20 per day for the previous week, 18 new cases were reported in Saturday’s report. On Friday, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health attributed the dramatic jump in the county to an outbreak among younger adults who had congregated at downtown Mankato bars two weekends ago when indoor dining and drinking had just reopened.

The 18 new cases were less than the 33 in Friday’s data, but Blue Earth County has now had 161 newly infected residents in the past eight days — nearly half the 335 who have contracted the disease since the pandemic first reached south-central Minnesota in March.

Of the new cases reported Saturday, only Olmsted County’s 30 cases and Mower County’s 26 were higher than Blue Earth County among greater Minnesota counties.

There were five new cases in Nicollet County, but other area counties saw modest increases: three in Watonwan County; one each in Faribault, Martin, Sibley and Waseca counties; and no new cases in Brown and Le Sueur counties.

Statewide, there were just six deaths reported and 427 new cases. It was the seventh straight day of single-digit deaths in Minnesota, a striking contrast to earlier in the epidemic. From April 21 to June 12, Minnesota had only two days where the death toll was less than 10 and 32 days where it topped 20.

The number of Minnesotans hospitalized with the disease also continued to decline, dropping by 35 from Friday’s data to 300. Of those, 155 were in intensive care units, also a slight decline.