With the rate of cases in the area decreasing since the end of November, Wadena County has seen 37 additional positive cases of COVID-19 between Dec. 29-Jan. 5.

Area counties have seen the following increases in positive COVID-19 cases from Dec. 18-Jan. 5: Becker County had an additional 166 cases, Hubbard 83, Otter Tail 304, Todd 105 and Wadena 103. The counties have seen decreases from the number of additional positive cases from Dec. 11-29: Becker County had an additional 220 cases, Hubbard 111, Otter Tail 399, Todd 142 and Wadena 126.

"If we let our guard down, COVID-19 finds a way to surge back," said Jan Malcolm, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner, during a news conference on Jan. 4. She also said with the improvement it is "tenuous."

The COVID-19 vaccine for health care professionals and assisted living facilities residents is available. There are priority groups for receiving the optional vaccine. The general public is not in the current priority group.

RELATED: First COVID-19 vaccines given in Wadena

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As of Jan. 5, the Minnesota Department of Health reports the following cumulative positive cases of COVID-19:

  • Becker County: 2,725 cases

  • Hubbard County: 1,414
  • Otter Tail County: 4,310
  • Todd County: 2,258
  • Wadena County: 1,150

Some patients who tested positive for COVID-19 may no longer need to be in isolation.

In Wadena County, there were no additional deaths from COVID-19 and its complications from Dec. 30-Jan. 5.

In area counties, Becker County had four additional deaths, Hubbard County none, Otter Tail County four and Todd County one from Dec. 30-Jan. 5. The people were in the 75-99 years old age ranges, according to MDH.

Families and friends across the state are experiencing losses with 18 newly reported deaths statewide on Jan. 5 for a total of 5,461, according to MDH.

As of Dec. 31, the MDH list of schools with five or more cases of COVID-19 over a two-week period in students or staff who were in the building while infectious includes the following area county schools: Detroit Lakes Middle; Detroit Lakes Senior High; Frazee Secondary; Roosevelt Elementary in Detroit Lakes; Rossman Elementary in Detroit Lakes; Century Middle School Within A School in Park Rapids; Park Rapids Senior High; Battle Lake Elementary; Heart of the Lake Elementary in Perham; Hillcrest Lutheran Academy in Fergus Falls; Kennedy High School in Fergus Falls; Kennedy Middle School in Fergus Falls; Parkers Prairie Elementary; Perham Senior High; Underwood Elementary; Underwood Secondary; Browerville Secondary; Staples-Motley Senior High; Menahga Elementary; Menahga High School; Wadena-Deer Creek Senior High.

If you have a student at one of these schools, you would have received communication from the school if your student needed to quarantine based on being a close contact.

Public Health encourages the community to help protect others and yourself with mitigation efforts: wear a mask, keep a social distance of six feet or more, wash your hands well and often and stay home and consider getting tested if you have COVID symptoms or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Mental wellbeing is another important piece alongside physical health; Otter Tail County encourages purposeful self-care activities such as resting, taking a walk, reading, being creative, doing yoga or talking to a friend over video chat or phone.

The free COVID-19 testing available at the Wadena Armory is also encouraged whether people have symptoms or are asymptomatic. People of any age can be asymptomatic. The testing will help bring better understanding to the spread of the virus in the community.


COVID-19 information

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