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COVID-19 clusters linked to 4 bars in Minneapolis, Mankato

Here are the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Credit: KARE

ST PAUL, Minn. — Friday, June 26

  • MDH urges people who frequented four bars in Minneapolis, Mankato to get tested if symptomatic
  • Wisconsin reports zero deaths in Friday's COVID-19 update
  • Minnesotans in their 20s become age group with the most COVID-19 cases in the state
  • Gov. Walz announces plan to provide $853 million in aid to communities impacted by the coronavirus

3 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is investigating COVID-19 case clusters at four bars in the state: Two in Mankato and two in Minneapolis.

MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said more than 100 cases have been identified in connection with bar activity at Rounders and The 507 in Mankato, largely over the weekend of June 12-13.

She said 30 cases have also been associated with Cowboy Jack's Minneapolis and Kollege Klub Dinkytown around the time of June 14-21.

Ehresmann said anyone who has frequented these establishments and is symptomatic should get tested.

Some of the young people who tested positive in Mankato worked at child care facilities, Ehresmann said, so those facilities now have to take precautionary measures. She did not name any of the facilities specifically.

The median age of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota has dropped to 39.6. Ehresmann said MDH is "very concerned about the implications for our state," especially for the most vulnerable.

"We desperately need younger Minnesotans to take COVID and COVID precautions seriously," Ehresmann said.

As of Thursday, people ages 20-29 have surpassed the 30-39 age group for the most COVID-19 cases in the state. Friday, that age group had 7,045 reported cases in total.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said there was a lot of evidence on social media that the bars implicated in the clusters were "pretty crowded environments."

Ehresmann said MDH guidance says people need to be seated and have space for social distancing, and "that guidance ... very likely was not being followed."

"It's that very close together, absence of masks, and lots of people having the opportunity to be exposed," she said.

Ehresmann said MDH is working with its regulatory arm, including the environmental health division that inspects and regulates bars and restaurants, on how to "promote the best practices" at these facilities.

Malcolm said they are working on how they can "strengthen that communication" in the upcoming days and over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

RELATED: Live updates: Minnesotans in their 20s now make up largest group of COVID-19 cases

2 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services did not report any additional deaths with the release of their latest case numbers Friday, leaving the total number of deaths statewide at 766. The total number of confirmed cases is 26,747 since the pandemic began.

Wisconsin health officials say a total of 3,351 people have been hospitalized with complications from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, roughly 13% of the total number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus. Health officials say 3% of those testing positive have died.

Of the confirmed cases in Wisconsin, 21% involve people between the ages of 20 to 29, 18% are between 30 and 39, 16% are between 40 and 49, and 14% are 50 to 59. An estimated 10% are between 60 and 69.

Milwaukee County reports the largest number of cases with 10,812 and 382 deaths. Brown County reports 2,738 cases and 41 deaths, while Racine County has registered 2,144 cases and 61 deaths.

11 a.m.

Numbers released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) continue an upward trend in new cases of COVID-19. 

MDH says 498 Minnesotans tested positive for the virus in the last 24-hour reporting period, up from the 365 reported Thursday. In all 34,616 confirmed cases have been diagnosed since the pandemic began. Private and state labs processed 14,560 tests yesterday, bringing the overall total to 557,278.

The number of new COVID-19 related deaths reported Friday is five, stretching the number of consecutive days with single-digit deaths to six. Overall, 1,411 fatalities have been reported.

Hospitalization numbers also remain steady, with 335 people being treated for coronavirus in Minnesota hospitals. Of those patients, 157 have symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. MDH says 30,008 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have recovered enough to no longer require isolation. 

Thursday's big development was the revelation that people between the ages of 20 and 29 now make up the largest group of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. Numbers shared Friday indicate that trend continues, with people from that age group accounting for 7,045 cases, more than the 6,908 represented by people between 30 and 39. Those ages 80 to 89 account for just 1,536 of the cases, but 484 of the deaths, 34% of Minnesota's total.

RELATED: Live updates: Minnesotans in their 20s now make up largest group of COVID-19 cases

Thursday, June 25

2 p.m.

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan announced a plan on Thursday to provide nearly $853 million in aid to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to a news release, the plan - which still requires approval from the Legislative Advisory Commission - would allocate $841 million of the funds to counties, cities and towns to assist these government entities with their COVID relief efforts. The additional $12 million is intended to combat hunger across the state, by supporting local food shelves and food banks. 

“As we work to support the health and safety of all Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also taking steps to build a stronger and more equitable economy,” Governor Walz said in a statement. “This funding will bring much-needed relief to communities across the state as we continue to battle this pandemic together.”

In justification for the $12 million component, the government cites "unprecedented demand" for the products provided by food shelves and food banks. There has been a nearly 30% jump in food shelf visits since the pandemic began dramatically impacting American life. The release cites a 20% to 40% increase in distributed products via food banks since 2019, amounting to approximately 2.4 million pounds of food being distributed per week.

RELATED: Second Harvest predicts growing hunger surge in Minnesota

RELATED: MDH: Nearly 200 COVID-19 cases reported at 4 Amazon facilities in Minnesota

“Access to nutritious food is a cornerstone of a safe and healthy life, and for too many Minnesotans, that need hasn’t gone away during this pandemic—it has increased,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan in the news release. “Using CARES Act funding to alleviate this need is one way we can directly improve the lives of Minnesotans most impacted by COVID-19. While the Legislature was not able to come to a final agreement to distribute this funding, their work was critical in determining the greatest needs across our state.”

The release goes on to state that the $841 million allocated to support local relief efforts can be used to fund local government services, in addition to providing grants for businesses, hospitals and individuals impacted by COVID. 

The funding will be distributed by the Minnesota Department of Revenue (MDR) based on a "per capita formula developed by the state legislature during special session." The formula is as follows.

  • Counties with population under 500,000: $121.28 x county population
  • Cities with population over 200: $75.34 x city population
  • Organized towns with population over 5,000: $75.34 x organized town population
  • Towns with population over 200 and under 4,999: $25 x town population

The release states that funding for cities or towns under 200 individuals will be distributed by their respective counties using the following formula.

  • Cities with population under 200: $75.34 x city population
  • Organized towns with population under 200: $25 x town population

If the funding is approved by congress, MDR will begin to dole out the aid on a "rolling basis" starting the week of June 29, 2020.

11 a.m.

The latest numbers from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reflect a shift in the age group that accounts for the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the state. 

Minnesotans between the ages of 20 and 29 are now the largest group of those testing positive, accounting for 6,854 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That age group nudged ahead of those 30 to 39, who account for 6,834 cases and were previously the largest group of those testing positive. 

People between the ages of 80 and 89 make up just 1,526 of the cases, but the largest number of deaths with 481. 

Between private and state labs 13,072 coronavirus tests were processed in the latest 24-hour reporting period, revealing an additional 365 confirmed cases of the virus. That brings the total of Minnesotans testing positive to 34,123 since the pandemic began. 

MDH says nine more people died of complications from COVID-19, bringing Minnesota's total fatalities to 1,406. Of those, 1,107 deaths, or 79%, occurred in long-term or assisted living settings. An additional 35 deaths are listed as COVID-19 probable, meaning the virus is listed on that person's death certificate but a positive test has not been documented. 

Currently 336 people are hospitalized with symptoms of coronavirus, with 162 being treated in the ICU. Both numbers have been fairly steady or trending downward over the past several weeks. 

Of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, 29,854 have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.

RELATED: Amid COVID-19, MSP Airport prepares for more travelers in July

RELATED: Twins players test positive for COVID-19

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and see what businesses are open as the state slowly lifts restrictions. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.

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