Special Report

COVID-19: St. Cloud, MN Metro Area Among the Most Dangerous in America

The U.S. reported over 16,000 new cases of coronavirus on June 10, bringing the total count to more than 33.0 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. There have been more than 592,000 COVID-19-related deaths — the highest death toll of any country.

New cases continue to rise at a steady rate. In the past week, there were an average of 5.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 Americans — essentially unchanged from the week prior, when there were an average of 5.6 daily new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people.

While new data shows that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high in almost every part of the country, cities continue to be the sites of major outbreaks and superspreader events. Experts agree that the virus is more likely to spread in group settings where large numbers of people routinely have close contact with one another, such as colleges, nursing homes, bars, and restaurants. Metropolitan areas with a high degree of connectivity between different neighborhoods and a large population may be particularly at-risk.

The St. Cloud, MN metro area consists of Stearns County and Benton County. As of June 10, there were 14,275.8 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 St. Cloud residents, the 17th highest rate of all 383 metro areas with available data. For comparison, the U.S. has so far reported cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

The incidence of coronavirus cases depends on a variety of factors and can vary even between neighboring counties. Within the St. Cloud metro area, Benton County has the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases. As of June 10, there were 14,513.2 cases per 100,000 residents in Benton County, the most of any county in St. Cloud, yet not too far from the county with the lowest incidence. In Stearns County, there were 14,215.7 cases per 100,000 residents — the least of any county in St. Cloud.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, city and county governments have ordered the closure of thousands of consumer-facing businesses. These measures have led to widespread job loss and record unemployment. In the St. Cloud metro area, unemployment peaked at 9.4% in May 2020. As of March 2021, the metro area’s unemployment rate was 4.4%.

To determine how the incidence of COVID-19 in the St. Cloud, MN metro area compares to the rest of the country, 24/7 Wall St. compiled and reviewed data from state and local health departments. We ranked metro areas based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.To estimate the incidence of COVID-19 at the metropolitan level, we aggregated data from the county level using boundary definitions from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population data used to adjust case and death totals came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and are five-year estimates. Unemployment data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is seasonally adjusted.

These are all the counties in Minnesota where COVID-19 is slowing (and where it’s still getting worse).

FIPS MSA Population Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Jun 10 Confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Jun 10 per 100,000 residents Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Jun 10 Cumulative COVID-19 deaths as of Jun 10 per 100,000 residents
41060 St. Cloud, MN 198,581 28,349 14,275.8 322 162.2
31860 Mankato, MN 100,749 10,926 10,844.8 87 86.4
33460 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 3,573,609 381,581 10,677.7 4,585 128.3
20260 Duluth, MN-WI 289,247 27,424 9,481.2 448 154.9
40340 Rochester, MN 217,964 18,899 8,670.7 118 54.1