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35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now considered COVID-19 hotspots

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Nearly three dozen Minnesota counties, including most of those in the Twin Cities metro, have "high" or "substantial" rates of COVID-19 transmission — meaning masks are recommended in indoor public spaces regardless of an individual's vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced this new guidance Tuesday, citing the rapidly increasing threat of the delta variant and rising infection numbers in many parts of the country.

The agency recommends that in areas with "substantial" or "high" transmission of COVID-19, everyone wear a mask while in public, indoor spaces, whether they have been fully vaccinated or not.

When the CDC revealed the update guidance earlier this week, 14 Minnesota counties fell into the substantial or high categories. Three days later, 35 Minnesota counties pass the threshold, including six of the seven Twin Cities metro counties. (Carver remains in the "moderate" level for now.)

The three counties with "high" transmission as of Friday afternoon's most recent figures: Dodge, Morrison and Lake (in red on the map above).

Six of the Twin Cities metro's seven counties have "substantial" transmission:

  1. Hennepin
  2. Ramsey
  3. Dakota
  4. Scott
  5. Anoka
  6. Washington

As do these 26 additional counties throughout the state, listed here in alphabetical order:

  1. Aitkin
  2. Benton
  3. Crow Wing
  4. Douglas
  5. Freeborn
  6. Hubbard
  7. Isanti
  8. Kandiyohi
  9. Lake of the Woods
  10. Le Sueur
  11. McLeod
  12. Meeker
  13. Stearns
  14. Nobles
  15. Redwood
  16. Renville
  17. Rice
  18. Rock
  19. Sherburne
  20. Swift
  21. Traverse
  22. Waseca
  23. Wilkin
  24. Winona
  25. Wright

Gov. Tim Walz, in the latest push to improve the state's flagging rate of vaccines administered, said Thursday all Minnesotans who get a vaccine through Aug. 15 will get $100.

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