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Live updates: MDH urges college students to self-quarantine before returning to campus

Here are the latest updates on COVID-19 in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Friday, Aug. 14

  • MDH urges college students to quarantine for 2 weeks before heading back to campus
  • 738 new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, highest since weekend
  • 313 people hospitalized from the virus statewide
  • Biden calls for a nationwide mask mandate

2 p.m.

State health officials are asking college students to self-quarantine for 14 days before they go back to campus this fall.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said on Friday's regular briefing call that prospective college students should stay home and interact only with their family before heading to school in an effort to avoid spreading COVID-19.

"That means skipping the massive house parties, avoiding the crowded bars, and limiting your interactions," she said.

Ehresmann said they're hearing about parties and gatherings as the end of summer and beginning of the school year approaches.

"I know that I sound like a mom," she said. "But I am a mom and I do care about the outcomes for our students."

Ehresmann said MDH epidemiologists have also been noticing that people have been spreading the virus while waiting for results of COVID-19 tests to come back.

"If you're getting tested that means that you think there is a reason or a reasonable likelihood that you may have COVID," she said. "So it's really important that you stay home."

Ehresmann said outbreaks at Minnesota bars have coincided with areas where there are colleges and universities, including Mankato, Minneapolis, Duluth, Bemidji and St. Cloud.

However, Ehresmann said, "there’s not a particular area or a particular location that we’re worried about."

Ehresmann said they want college students across the state to realize that their decisions about social distancing and wearing masks will affect the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.

"The bottom line is, students will really decide how successful this is, and students will decide whether or not they have to close down and send everybody home again," she said. "That's going to depend on the choices they make to minimize transmission."

State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield also took the opportunity on the call to remind the public about unsafe hand sanitizers flagged by the FDA.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 738 newly identified coronavirus cases on Friday, along with eight deaths.

The new cases were confirmed out of a volume of 16,617 tests done in the past 24 hours. The new deaths bring the total number of fatalities from the virus to 1,693 in Minnesota, with 1,269 of them coming from long-term care or assisted living facilities.

Credit: KARE
New COVID-19 cases in Minnesota as of Aug. 14, 2020.

As of Friday, 313 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 and 152 of them are in the ICU. That's up overall from Thursday, but down from the four days prior.

Minnesotans ages 20-29 still make up the largest group of cases, with 14,849, followed by people in their 30s with 11,635. The highest numbers of deaths come in those ages 80-99.

The leading source of transmission, according to MDH, is community spread with no known contact with a confirmed coronavirus case. That accounts for 14,882 cases at this point. That type of spread is one of the indicators MDH is looking at to determine whether Minnesota needs to dial back from some of its reopening measures.

Thursday, Aug. 13

11 a.m.

Minnesota's confirmed cases of COVID-19 surged by nearly 700 in the last day, according to new numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

Statistics gathered in the latest 24-hour reporting period reflect 697 cases based on 14,744 tests performed by private and state labs. The new cases bring Minnesota's total to 62,993 since the onset of the pandemic.

On Wednesday health officials reported 470 new cases, more than 200 less than Thursday, but yesterday's numbers were based off nearly 3,800 fewer tests processed. 

MDH says seven more Minnesotans have died of the coronavirus, bringing the total of state fatalities to 1,685. Of those deaths 1,263, or 75%, have occurred in long-term or assisted living facilities.  

Currently across Minnesota 308 people are hospitalized with symptoms of COVID-19, with 154 of them dealing with symptoms serious enough to require treatment in the ICU. MDH says 5,742 people have been treated in hospitals for the virus since it came to Minnesota. 

Of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus, 56,346 have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.

People between the ages of 20 and 29, those who MDH officials call Minnesota's most social group, account for the state's largest number of COVID-19 cases with 14,699. Four people included in the age group have perished from the virus. Those from 30 to 39 make up 11,502 case and 14 of the deaths, while people between 80 and 89 comprise just 2,023 of the cases but 566 of Minnesota's deaths. That's 34%. 

Hennepin County has the most COVID-19 activity in the state with 19,873 cases and 842 deaths. Ramsey County reports 7.827 cases and 270 deaths, while Dakota County reports 4,610 cases and 106 fatalities.