WORTHINGTON — Two more people from Jackson County and two from Cottonwood County have died of COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

One of the Cottonwood County victims was 50 to 54 years old, and the other was 80 to 84 years old. In Jackson County, one victim was age 60 to 64 and the second, age 95 to 99.

MDH also continues to track outbreaks in schools and long-term care facilities in the state. Currently, Prairie Elementary and Worthington Middle School in Nobles County, Heron Lake-Okabena Secondary in Jackson County, and Hills-Beaver Creek Elementary and Luverne High School in Luverne have an outbreak (five or more positive cases of the virus).

The ISD 518 COVID-19 incident team met Tuesday and decided to continue the schools’ mask mandate through Oct. 18 for staff, students and anyone entering school buildings.

Area health professionals had strongly encouraged the school to extend the mandate, said Carmen Johnson, human resources coordinator with District 518.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

As of Thursday afternoon, 9 students across all District 518 schools were in 10-day isolation with COVID, and there had been 51 total student cases of COVID since school began. Only one staff member was in their isolation period for COVID, and 11 staff members have had the virus since the school year started.

Also, long-term care facilities with outbreaks include the Good Samaritan Society Westbrook in Cottonwood County, Colonial Manor Nursing Home and Valley View Assisted Living in Jackson County, and Minnesota Veterans Home Luverne and Tuff Memorial Home in Rock County.

In its daily report Friday, with data current as of 4 a.m. Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 3,661 new PCR positive and antigen positive cases of the virus statewide. Of those new cases, five were reported in Nobles County, nine in Cottonwood County, two in Jackson County, five in Murray County, two in Rock County and two in Pipestone County.

In addition, 20 more COVID-related deaths were reported statewide, including 17 individuals from private residences, and three from long-term care or assisted living facilities. Since the virus was discovered, 8,295 Minnesotans have reportedly died from its complications — including 4,671 individuals residing in long-term care or assisted living facilities. Meanwhile, there have been 735,646 confirmed and probable positive cases of the virus in the state, with 701,975 of those individuals no longer isolating.

Among Minnesota’s health care workers, 47,615 individuals have tested positive for the virus thus far.

Following is current data on the virus in the far corner of southwest Minnesota:

Nobles County: 4,691 cases; 4545 recovered; 51 deaths; 65.2% of residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Nobles County Public Health on Thursday reported slightly different numbers, that 4,551 people were past their 10-day isolation, and 89 people are currently infected and still within their 10-day isolation period. They are in the following age ranges: birth-10, 13 people, no change from the previous report; 11-15 7 people, no change; 16-19, 5 people, up two from the last report; 20-25, four people, down one from the previous report; 26-50, 38 people, up 6 from the previous report; 51-64, 10 people, down one from the previous report; and aged 65+, 12 people, up two from the previous report.

Cottonwood County: 1,882 cases; 1792 recovered; 24 deaths; 61% vaccinated.

Jackson County: 1,412 cases; 1358 recovered; 13 deaths; 56.4% vaccinated.

Murray County: 1,262 cases; 1192 recovered; 10 deaths; 60.1% vaccinated.

Pipestone County: 1,293 cases; 1243 recovered; 27 deaths; 54.6% vaccinated.

Rock County: 1,513 cases; 1445 recovered; 19 deaths; 55.8% vaccinated.

All Minnesota residents aged 12 and older are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. The Nobles County Public Health department encourages all eligible individuals to seek vaccination. Private providers in Worthington include Access Family Medical Clinic/Avera Medical Group, Hy-Vee Pharmacy, Sanford Health, Sterling Drug and Walgreens. Contact Nobles County Public Health at 295-5213 if interested in receiving a vaccine or if you have questions regarding receiving a vaccine.

On Monday, the Iowa Department of Health reported 501,932 cases of COVID-19 since testing began, with 8,966 of those cases reported within the last seven days. As of Thursday, 573 individuals were hospitalized with complications from COVID-19, with another 145 patients in Intensive Care Units in the state. Of those patients in ICU, 84.1% were not fully vaccinated against the virus, while 76.5% of hospitalized individuals were not fully vaccinated.

In northwest Iowa, the number of positive cases in the last seven days, along with the percentage of fully vaccinated residents aged 18 and older are as follows:

Dickinson County: 57 cases; 62.4% fully vaccinated.

Lyon County: 50 cases; 49% fully vaccinated.

Osceola County: 21 cases; 51.8% fully vaccinated.

Johns Hopkins University reports a nationwide cumulative total of 44,199,254 positive cases of COVID-19 as of 12 p.m. Friday, with 3,425,317 of those cases reported in the last 28 days. Thus far, 710,927 Americans have died from the virus, including 52,829 people in the last 28 days.

The Minnesota Department of Health continues to ask people to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or are awaiting test results, and to practice universal precautions including washing hands with soap (for 20 seconds), social distancing, and avoiding crowded or confined spaces.