Virus Outbreak-Treatment

In this July 6, 2020 file photo, a health care worker administers a COVID-19 test at a site sponsored by Community Heath of South Florida at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Clinica Campesina Health Center in Homestead, Fla. A drug company says on Friday, Sept. 18, that a medicine it sells to tamp down inflammation has helped prevent the need for breathing machines in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the first large study that primarily enrolled minorities. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Waseca County’s COVID-19 case rate per 10,000 climbed for the third straight week Thursday after the Minnesota Department of Health released its latest two-week reporting data.

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 12, the case rate per 10,000 swelled to 85.07 -- the highest in the state and more than double the next highest county. Waseca County's rate for the previous two-week reporting period stood at 74.96 per 10,000.

COVID-19 rates continue to spike at Federal Correctional Institution-Waseca. As of Thursday, the prison ranked No. 3 in the country among federal prisons with 187 cases among 599 inmates and two among staff. Seventy-nine new cases were reported Thursday.

Waseca County Public Health reported 46 new cases with all but three emanating from the prison. Roughly 60 percent of the 612 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the county stem from the prison.

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton school districts have announced they will return to hybrid learning for older students Monday. Waseca Public Schools meets Thursday night to discuss its learning model.

Even excluding the cases within FCI-Waseca, the county’s case rate would still hover in the 40s per 10,000, according to Waseca County Public Health.

Waseca County held free drive-through COVID-19 testing Wednesday and Thursday at the Waseca County Fairgrounds from noon to 6 p.m. Around 400 people got tested Wednesday and the site had the capacity to test more than 800 people a day.

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