With the omicron variant spreading around the state, COVID-19 cases and deaths are increasing in Dakota County.

Dakota County Public Health reported 5,279 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths from the virus this week.

Both cases and deaths increased from last week when the county health department reported 3,082 cases and 15 deaths from the virus within the first week of January.

In the last seven days, the county health department reported 52 hospitalizations from the virus. This is down slightly from last week when 59 hospitalizations were reported in Dakota County.

It is important to note that with the rise of at-home testing, COVID-19 numbers likely don't make up the total number of positive cases in a region as at-home tests don't get reported to health departments.

State health officials say reported COVID-19 numbers aren’t as accurate in representing the number of positive cases as at-home rapid testing has now become the primary way people are getting tested.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently updated its quarantine recommendations to mirror the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's new recommendations.

For people who start having symptoms of COVID-19, MDH recommends they stay home for at least five days after symptoms begin.

Those who do not have symptoms but still tested positive for the virus should also stay in quarantine for five days, even if they are fully vaccinated.

MDH recommends people wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days after testing positive or since symptoms started.

Isolation can end after five days if all symptoms are gone, however, people should continue to wear a well-fitted mask in public and around others for an additional five days, according to MDH.

The CDC also recommends wearing a mask indoors when the case rate per 100,000 is over 50 and it is currently 1,230 in Dakota County.

This change is driven by studies that shows the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs in the one to two days prior to onset of symptoms and two to three days thereafter, according to the CDC.

The updated guidance applies to the general population, including some settings like schools; however, the guidance does not apply to health care settings, correctional institutions or homeless shelters.

Written By


Sophia Voight is a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette. She is from Oshkosh, WI and graduated from the UW Oshkosh with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism in 2021. She can be reached with any news tips at


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