ST. CLOUD -- Recent data compiled by the New York Times suggests St. Cloud is on pace to become one of the most significant COVID-19 hotspots in the United States.

In a piece called, Five Ways to Follow the Coronavirus Outbreak for Any Metro Area in the U.S., updated Friday, the New York Times found St. Cloud to have the highest average daily growth rate of cases in the country.

Data compiled by the New York Times shows the number of positive coronavirus cases in St. Cloud growing by 42-percent each day. The number of confirmed cases is doubling every two days.

Table of data from the New York Times (May 1, 2020)
Table of data from the New York Times (May 1, 2020)

By comparison, the second highest daily growth rate is reported in Sioux City, Iowa, with a 20-percent daily growth rate with cases doubling about every four days.

The New York Times says the growth rates in the graph are averages from the past week. Communities included in the findings are those with a population of 50,000 or above and more than 250 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“Growth rates are useful measures in epidemics because they tell us whether things are getting better or worse,” the article says. “In places where the growth rate is high but the number of cases is relatively low, a community may still have time to flatten its curve before an outbreak becomes widespread.”

“Communities with a lot of cases and a high growth rate are on track to have a serious problem,” the article continues. “A high growth rate on top of a large number of cases means that a still larger number of people are on track to become ill or die.”

Minnesota conducted over 4,500 coronavirus tests Thursday, the highest amount to date. Stearns County reported 168 new positive coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 435. Stearns County has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Minnesota behind Hennepin and Nobles.

Citing privacy laws, the Minnesota Department of Health will not release specific details on confirmed cases beyond county of origin.

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