The county has recorded 148 positive COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days, Sara Benson, director of Renville County Public Health, told the County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday.
The director reported that of the 148 positive cases, 23 were possible breakthrough cases of people who have been vaccinated.
The rising case rate in Renville County is similar to that being experienced in neighboring counties, according to the director.
The 15 percent rate of breakthrough cases is well above the state’s experience. Benson reported that the rate of breakthrough cases statewide is currently at 1.032 percent.
Benson pointed out that the vaccinations are effective in saving lives and keeping people from needing hospital care. Statewide, breakthrough cases represent only 0.053 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19. They represent 0.006 percent of the deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The county’s rate of vaccinations appears to be headed backward, according to Benson. It’s not clear if the decline can be attributed to changes in how the state is coding the addresses of those being vaccinated, or if vaccination hesitancy is the cause.
Current numbers show that 53 percent of Renville County residents age 12 and older have received at least one dose and 51 percent are fully vaccinated, according to information provided by the health director. Since the start of the pandemic, Renville County has recorded 2,148 cumulative cases and 49 deaths.
Benson said that the delta variant or a virus of the delta lineage is believed responsible for more than 99 percent of the positive cases in Renville County.
She added that she suspects the current rise in cases does not tell the full scope of the cases. There are many who opt for home testing and those results are not reported to the state. There are also those experiencing relatively minor symptoms who do not get tested. In some cases, they mistakenly attribute their symptoms to seasonal allergies or the common cold.
The commissioners expressed concerns that people are not taking the precautions they should during this second wave. The commissioners and Benson noted that it is also easy for misinformation to spread, especially since the recommended guidelines change.
The commissioners noted too that some health care facilities are losing employees who object to vaccine mandates. Benson said workers in the public health office who are not vaccinated must wear masks, and based on that, she is not aware of any staff member who is not vaccinated.
Benson gave her report to the board remotely. She said she was quarantined at home due to a positive test over the weekend. She did not say who had tested positive.