Novel coronavirus

Samples are tested for COVID-19 at the Minnesota Department of Health.

MANKATO — Blue Earth, Le Sueur and Watonwan counties have five new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing south-central Minnesota’s total to 71.

Le Sueur County’s three new cases raised its total to 18, the second most in the region behind Martin County’s 29. Blue Earth has the next most with 10, including one new case.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported the state’s overall cases climbed from 689 to 742 Thursday, while deaths rose from 17 to 18.

COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state rose dramatically, from 54 to 75. Of Minnesota’s 742 known cases, 373 no longer need to be isolated.

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