Winona reports 100 new COVID-19 cases due to backlog

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) – One hundred new COVID-19 cases were reported Friday in Winona County; however, officials say the jump was due to a delay in reporting previous cases, not a single-day spike.

Winona County Health & Human Services released a statement explaining that 72 of the new positive cases are from samples dated Sept. 9 or earlier and the Minnesota Department of Health has been alerted and is looking for a reason for the delay.

Eleven of the positive cases were from samples collected Tuesday and Wednesday; the increase was not related to the recent testing event.

The increase brings the total number of positive cases in Winona County to 828, including 18 people who have died from the virus.

The city of Winona announced Friday it would not be changing its decision-making or strategies to limit the spread of the coronavirus due to the health services report.

Friday’s case numbers do not impact infection rates, the 14-day case average, community decision-making, or any other factors at the city level.

“We want to assure the community that these are old cases,“ said City Manager Steve Sarvi. “The last thing we want to see is our schools, businesses, and community partners making changes or decisions solely based on Friday’s numbers.”

The backlog does not appear to be the result of any issues at the local level. The city is concerned about why these cases weren’t reported at the state level in a timely way, and has asked the Minnesota Department of Health to investigate and report back to the community.

“We appreciate and continue to support the ongoing efforts from our universities, county public health department and others working hard to limit the spread from rising COVID-19 cases over the last month,” said Mayor Mark Peterson.

The city continues to do all it can to minimize the virus’ spread. This includes ensuring COVID-19 safety plans are followed at businesses, bar and restaurant compliance checks, weekend neighborhood patrols, and visits to parks, trails, and popular outdoor destinations.

The city urges all Winona residents to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask, stay physically distant, don’t host or attend larger gatherings (the state limit is 10 indoors, 25 outdoors – the city is recommending 5-10 indoors and 10-15 outdoors for now), wash your hands, and practice other safe and healthy behaviors.