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Live updates: Minnesota health officials say schools, colleges are driving record COVID-19 numbers

Here are the latest COVID-19 case numbers, trends and developments in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Monday, Sept. 21

  • 937 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases 
  • MDH will be doing free testing in Grand Rapids, Pine City and Waseca starting Sept. 21
  • Five more counties show case rates high enough for 'full distance learning' recommendation
  • MSHSL moves football, volleyball back to fall

2 p.m. 

On a regular briefing call with reporters Monday, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials addressed the highest single-day COVID-19 case count yet in the state.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm said that Sunday's 1,318 newly confirmed cases are a "new one-day record by a significant margin."

MDH Infectious Disease Director, Kris Ehresmann, added that Sunday's number was not influenced by any backlog in testing data.

"It's not a record that we're pleased about," she said.

Ehresmann said health officials believe the return to school for both K-12 and higher education are partly to blame, along with other activities and events.

She also addressed an "apparent reluctance" of people who have tested positive, or have had contact with someone who has COVID-19, to share key information with contact tracers from the state.

"While this may be tempting in the short term, it actually makes it harder for all Minnesotans," Ehresmann said.

Dan Huff, the assistant commissioner for MDH, joined the briefing call Monday to announce that the state's first COVID-19 saliva testing site in Minnesota is opening Sept. 23 in Duluth. The semi-permanent site at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) is the first of 10 that will be established across the state.

RELATED: Minnesota's first COVID-19 saliva testing site to open in Duluth

When asked about the MSHSL's decision to go on with high school football and volleyball this fall, Malcolm said she respected the league's decision, but did say it comes with a risk.

"All along we've sort of acknowledged that balancing these various perspectives and factors is a challenge," Malcolm said. "But from a pure, kind of public health risk protection perspective, you might say, 'Well, we know there's a lot of viral activity in the community. It's at a high enough level that we would prefer not to have events that would just gather more people and create more opportunity for transmission.'

"However, we know outdoor environments are safer and we certainly know how important these activities are to the student-athletes, to their families and to the community. We think that it's a risk calculation and there are certainly trade-offs – risks and benefits."

Malcolm said there's no way to predict what the risk level would be like in March, so couldn't say whether it would be safer had the MSHSL decided to have football and volleyball in the spring instead of the fall.

"We certainly hope (the risk) is less (in March) for a whole bunch of reasons, but there's just so much unknown about the further trajectory of the virus, some of the reinfection potential and the co-occurrence with influenza," Malcolm said. "We can appreciate that March didn't necessarily seem like a safer bet for this decision."

RELATED: MSHSL moves football, volleyball back to fall

11 a.m. 

Numbers released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) show 937 new cases of COVID-19 in the state. 

Those new cases are based on the results of 16,938 tests processed in private and state labs in the last 24-hour reporting period. While still high, the 937 cases are actually down from Sunday, when MDH reported 1,318 newly diagnosed cases.

Four more Minnesotans have died of coronavirus, bring total fatalities to 1,969 since the start of the pandemic. Of those deaths 1,425, or 72% of them happened in long-term care or assisted living settings. 

As of Monday 255 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals across Minnesota, 128 of them with symptoms serious enough to require care in the ICU. MDH says 82,174 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation. 

People between the ages of 20 and 24 make up the largest grouping of Minnesota's coronavirus cases by a significant margin with 12,509 cases and one fatality. Those between 25 and 29 account for 8,989 cases and three deaths, followed by people from 15 to 19 with 8,618 and zero fatalities. 

The largest number of deaths involves Minnesota residents between 85 and 89, with 335 fatalities out of just 1,224 cases. That means 27% of people in that demographic who were diagnosed with the virus died from it. 

Hennepin County has the most COVID activity of any county in the state with 26,054 cases and 922 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 10,572 cases and 318 fatalities. Dakota County reports 7,216 cases and 125 deaths. 

Cook County in far northeast Minnesota has seen the least coronavirus activity with just six confirmed cases and no deaths.

RELATED: MSHSL moves volleyball back to fall

Sunday, Sept. 20

2 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services reported 1,665 new cases Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases statewide to 101,227 since the pandemic started.

Health officials announced one new death on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities statewide to 1,242. 

Wisconsin health officials say a total of 6,653 people have been hospitalized from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, about 6.6% of the total number of people who have been diagnosed with the virus. 

As of Sunday, Milwaukee County reported the largest number of cases with 26,860 along with 521 deaths. Dane County has reported 8,815 cases and 41 deaths, and Brown County has reported 7,484 cases and 59 deaths.

11 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 1,318 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday - which is a new single-day high.

This brings the total number of Minnesotans who have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began to 90,017.

MDH says two Minnesotans have died of complications from the virus during the past day, bringing the total number of fatalities in the state to 1,965.

Minnesota hospitals are currently treating 248 patients for COVID-19, with 123 of them dealing with symptoms serious enough to require care in the ICU.

MDH reports that 81,336 people once diagnosed with the virus have recovered enough that they no longer require isolation.

Of those who have tested positive, people between the ages of 20-24 account for the most cases with 12,362 cases and one death, and those ages 25-29 follow with 8,912 cases and three deaths. Those between 85 and 89 years old account for the highest number of fatalities in one age group at 335 out of 1,216 confirmed cases.

In terms of likely exposure to the coronavirus, MDH says 23,199 cases were the result of community transmission with no known contact with an infected person, and 20,587 had known contact with a person who has a confirmed case.

A total of 11,241 cases involved exposure in a congregate living setting, 1,239 were in a corrections setting, and 306 were in a homeless shelter. MDH data shows 7,822 were linked to an outbreak outside of congregate living or health care.

MDH says 7,859 cases were linked to travel. Health care workers or patients account for 3,070 of diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

Hennepin County has the most cases in the state at 25,857 cases with 922 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 10,492 cases and 318 deaths. Dakota County reports 7,125 cases and 125 deaths.

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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