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Live updates: Most Minnesota counties remain under full in-person learning recommendations

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

ST PAUL, Minn. — Thursday, Aug. 20

  • State releases updated COVID-19 data for school reopening guidance
  • MDH reports 698 new coronavirus cases
  • Minnesotans could soon get 1 test for both COVID-19 and the flu
  • Downward trend in cases, hospitalizations "coincides in time" with the mask mandate
  • Health officials recommend care with upcoming Labor Day travel 

12:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has released its weekly data to help school districts determine the appropriate learning models for fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The updated data tracks the 14-day rate of COVID-19 cases per 10,000 people by county, between July 26 and August 8. 

New numbers show 51 of Minnesota's 87 counties have case rates low enough for full in-person learning under the state's guidance, an increase of three counties over last week. Another 26 counties currently fall into a range where the state recommends hybrid in-person and distance learning for secondary students; while 10 counties have rates high enough for the state to recommend hybrid learning for all age groups. 

State officials have emphasized that this case data alone does not automatically determine the learning plan for a particular county or school district, but is meant to be used in guidance as the first step in each district's decision-making process.

According to the state's Safe Learning Plan, the county case data leads to five recommended learning models:

  • 0-9 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for all students
  • 10-19 cases per 10,000: In-person learning for elementary students, hybrid learning for secondary students
  • 20-29 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for all students
  • 30-49 cases per 10,000: Hybrid learning for elementary students, distance learning for secondary students
  • 50 or more cases per 10,000: Distance learning for all students

There are currently no Minnesota counties that fall into the two highest guidance ranges.

From week to week, six counties saw COVID-19 case rates increase into a new recommended learning category with more hybrid learning, including Aitkin, Jackson, Lincoln, McLeod, Pipestone and St. Louis counties. A dozen other counties had case rates fall into a less restrictive learning model, including Becker, Cottonwood, Grant, Lyon, Murray, Nicollet, Red Lake, Rock, Sherburne, Stearns, Wabasha and Wilkin counties.

11 a.m.

Nearly 700 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Minnesota, according to numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 

Health officials say the 698 new cases added in the last 24-hour reporting period push to 67,308 the number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus. The new cases are based on 13,810 tests processed in private and state labs in the last day. 

Seven more people have died of the coronavirus, pushing the total of fatalities in Minnesota to 1,745 since the onset of the pandemic. MDH officials expressed concern Wednesday when 17 deaths were recorded, the most in two months.

Currently 309 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals around the state, 148 of them in ICU. MDH says 60,605 people who at one time tested positive for coronavirus have recovered sufficiently that they no longer require isolation.

Those between the ages of 20 and 29 account for the largest number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota with 15,558. Four people in that age bracket have died of the virus. People between 30 and 39 make up 12,225 cases and 14 deaths, while those from 80 to 89 years of age comprise just 2,145 cases but 582 deaths, more than 33% of the state's total. 

RELATED: Minnesotans could soon get one test for COVID and the flu

Hennepin County has registered 21,050 of the state's total COVID-19 cases, while reporting 860 deaths. Ramsey County reports 8,312 cases and 280 deaths, while Dakota County has experienced 5,048 cases and 108 fatalities. 

Credit: KARE


The chart above represents Minnesota's COVID-19 positivity rate (positive tests compared to total tests) as of August 12. 

Wednesday, Aug. 19

2 p.m.

There were 17 fatalities in the last 24 hours in Minnesota, nine of them were residents in long term care facilities.

Reported on the MDH website is a backlog of 25,000 tests that was just added, which is why the testing numbers were so high. MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the overwhelming majority of the tests were negative.

Officials are urging college students to stay at home and avoid bars and house parties for at least 2 weeks before returning to their universities. Officials cited how other universities across the country had to scale back in-person learning due to COVID-19 spreading caused by social gatherings.

Officials said there are parents that have symptomatic children who are not getting the kids tested because they are afraid that a positive result would cause schools to scale back in-person learning. Officials are asking parents with kids who have coronavirus symptoms to keep them home because that is the measure that would truly lead to reopening schools.

11 a.m.

State health officials are reporting the highest number of  COVID-19 in two months time. 

Numbers released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) indicate 17 people died from the virus during the last 24-hour reporting period. That's the most since June 19, when the number of fatalities was also 17. The deaths reported Wednesday push Minnesota's total to 1,738. Of those fatalities 1,295, or 75%, occurred in long-term care or assisted living settings.

MDH says 567 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed based on 34,879 tests processed in private and state labs. That number of tests is nearly double the previous single day high, and MDH spokesman Doug Schultz has an explanation. He says Wednesday's testing data includes a backlog of more than 25,000 tests that were loaded into the system, the vast majority of which were negative tests MDH received from a number of labs going as far back as April.

Schultz says is the third time MDH has added backlogs to bring testing numbers up to date. The other days it was done were April 9 and June 3.

Credit: KARE

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across Minnesota remains solidly over 300 after showing signs that rates might be going down. Currently 321 people are being treated on an in-patient basis for the virus, with 152 of then in ICU.

Health officials say 60,242 people who at one time tested positive for coronavirus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.

Those between the ages of 20 and 29 continue to make up the largest group of Minnesota's COVID-19 cases with 15,431 and four deaths. People from 30 to 39 account for 12,116 cases and 14 deaths, while those 40 to 49 number 9,639 cases and 24 deaths. Minnesotans ages 80 to 89 comprise just 2,131 of the cases but 580 deaths, by far the most of any age group in the state. 

Hennepin County has recorded the most cases with 20,853 with 855 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 8,234 cases and 279 fatalities. Dakota County reports 4,992 cases and 108 deaths due to COVID-19.

Credit: KARE

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.