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The Free Press

MANKATO — Two more COVID-19 fatalities confirmed Monday raised south-central Minnesota’s death toll to 26 so far in October.

The deaths occurred in a Waseca County resident between 75-79 years old and a Brown County resident between 95-99 years old, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. They were among 29 deaths confirmed statewide Monday, raising Minnesota’s pandemic toll to 8,436.

October is already one of the deadliest months for the south-central region during the pandemic.

The last month that had more confirmed COVID-19 deaths was January, which had 29. At its current pace, October could surpass January’s total this week.

This month’s uptick came after weeks of rising case counts starting in the summer. Deaths and hospitalizations rise in the weeks following case upticks.

Waseca County’s pandemic death toll rose to 30, tied for the third-lowest total in the nine-county region. Brown County’s rose to 47, the third-most in the region.

Per 10,000 residents, both counties have among the four highest death rates in south-central Minnesota.

Area counties also combined for 156 newly confirmed cases Monday. It was a decline from the 197 new cases confirmed one week ago.

The region had a 10% decrease in new cases last week, offering some hope that the latest wave of high case counts peaked.

Blue Earth and Nicollet counties had the most new cases in the region Monday. All nine counties had at least four.

The full list of new cases confirmed by county Monday is as follows:

•Blue Earth County — 35

•Nicollet County — 30

•Brown County — 21

•Martin County — 20

•Le Sueur County — 19

•Waseca County — 11

•Faribault County — 11

•Sibley County — 5

•Watonwan County — 4

Follow Brian Arola @BrianArola

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