• 61°

Editorial: Tribune Thumbs

To the one-year anniversary since the first COVID-19 case in Freeborn County.

It is hard to believe it has been one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in Freeborn County. Much has happened since then.

Freeborn County has had 3,097 total cases since the start of the pandemic, and as of Friday, 27 from the county have died because of the virus.

To those who have suffered because of this virus or who have lost loved ones, our thoughts are with you. It has been a year that will stand out in history.

We appreciated members of the Albert Lea Ministerial Association and others from the community who on Thursday took time out of their days to offer up prayer and music for those who have lost loved ones or who may be grieving. They also prayed for hope as we all move into the future.

To the Tigers named to the winter All-Big 9, All-Big 9 honorable mention teams.

Congratulations to the 10 Albert Lea student-athletes who were named to the winter All-Conference or honorable mention teams.

The list included five athletes from the boys’ hockey team, three from the dance team, one from the boys’ swim and dive team and one from the girls’ basketball team.

While several of these athletes were seniors, a few were sophomores or juniors.

Congratulations to the seniors, who have completed their last winter season, and we look forward to seeing the younger athletes continue to excel in the coming years.

To rising COVID-19 cases across Minnesota.

Even though the vaccination pace is rising, health officials this week have expressed worry because of rising cases and hospitalizations across the state.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state’s positive test rate has trended for a third day above 5%, and more than 430 people were hospitalized, 105 of those people needing intensive care. These were the highest hospitalization needs since late January, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

While vaccination rates are rising — nearly 1.7 million have received at least one dose across the state and the county approaches 10,000 having at least one dose — it is important people continue to practice safety protocols including wearing masks, proper hand hygiene and social distancing.

To confirmation of the emerald ash borer in Blue Earth County.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture this week confirmed the emerald ash borer has been found in Blue Earth County. There are now 27 counties in the state with the infestation.

According to the Associated Press, a resident in the city of St. Clair was cutting down an ash tree and noticed insect galleries in the wood. MDA staff found live emerald ash borer larvae.

Other nearby counties with infested areas include Faribault, Steele, Mower and Olmsted counties.

We remind people of the importance of not moving firewood unless it is MDA-certified firewood and how critical it is to be vigilant about the condition of your ash trees.