Virus Outbreak Assisted Living

Waseca County's case rate per 10,000 grew once again for the latest two-week reporting data released by the Minnesota Department of Health. Waseca County leads the state in its case rate per 10,000 and recorded two additional deaths Thursday in a long-term care facility. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

As expected, Waseca County’s COVID-19 case rate per 10,000 continued to climb Thursday in the latest report issued by the Minnesota Department of Health.

For the two-week reporting period of Aug. 16-29, Waseca County’s rate climbed to 50.51 per 10,000 — the highest in the state. It is the only county in the state with a rate greater than 50. The Minnesota Department of Health suggests that any county with a rate greater than 50 adopt a distance learning model for all students. Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva school districts started the year with distance learning for middle and high school students. Waseca Public Schools has a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Waseca County recorded a 37.75 per 10,000 case rate in the previous two-week reporting period, which topped the state at that time.

Waseca County recorded 12 new cases Thursday and two more deaths. The county has 358 lab confirmed cases and six total deaths. The two deaths recorded Thursday came at long-term care facilities. All but one of the deaths have come in congregate care living facilities.

Lake Shore Inn Nursing Home in Waseca has reported an exposure, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The state issues new reports on Fridays about exposures in congregate care facilities and New Richland Care Center will likely appear on the list. Chuck Ness, administrator of the New Richland Care Center said one staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. It’s the first time the center has had a staff member test positive. They and three others who were exposed remain in quarantine. No residents have contracted COVID-19 at the New Richland Care Center, Ness said.

New Richland Care Center conducted facility-wide testing Aug. 6 and will move to testing twice a week Friday, Ness said. 

As of Thursday, the Federal Corrections Institution in Waseca reported 64 cases of COVID-19 among inmates and four among staff members -- an increase of 13 from the day before. The facility houses 614 female inmates and 490 inmates have been tested, according to the Bureau of Prisons website. The BOP reports 70 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

The BOP receives test results within 10-15 minutes, it said in a press release. It updates case numbers daily on its website at 3 p.m. The BOP said it has expanded testing on asymptomatic inmates as well.

“All inmates who are positive for COVID-19 or symptomatic are isolated and provided medical care in accordance with CDC guidelines,” the BOP said in a press release. “Symptomatic inmates whose condition rises to the level of acute medical care will be transferred to a hospital setting; either at a local hospital, or at an institution’s hospital care unit, if they have one.”

Reach Sports Editor Nick Gerhardt at 507-835-5447 or follow him on Twitter @WCNSports. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved. 

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