Dakota County reported 70 hospitalizations from COVID-19 and 12 deaths from the virus this week, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
COVID-19 hospitalizations saw an increase from last week when the county reported 52 hospitalizations over the previous week.
Death counts decreased slightly from the 17 reported in the county over the previous week.
Dakota County Public Health also reported 3,848 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last seven days.
However, MDH noted that there is a lag period in COVID-19 case numbers as the recent surge of cases is creating the highest volume of lab reports since the beginning of the pandemic.
The number of newly reported cases is an undercount, according to MDH.
Also as at-home COVID-19 tests become the primary form of testing across the country, state and county health officials say COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths will become the primary way of measuring the impact of the virus in communities.
"Hospitalization and death rate is more constant and helps us to know what's going on," Dakota County Public Health Director Gina Adasiewicz said at the Dec. 18 county board meeting.
"So we know there's probably more cases out there [because] it's community spread and there's some people that under don't test. So the case are underestimated," Adasiewicz said. "And all those at-home tests that we're starting to see, those don't get reported to Minnesota Department of Health."