ST PAUL, Minn. — Thursday, Sept. 10
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Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said health officials have now traced 75 positive COVID-19 cases to a recent wedding in Lyon County in southwestern Minnesota. The cases have been reported in 14 counties, in people ranging in age from 10 to 84. One case connected to the wedding has been hospitalized. Ehresmann said this is one of the largest outbreaks connected to a large social event in Minnesota.
In a Thursday conference call with reporters, MDH officials also reiterated the department's official essential caregiver guidance, and how residents can benefit from visits by these specially-designated friends or family members. MDH Director of the Office of Health Facility Complaints Lindsey Krueger said a recent voluntary survey of long-term care facilities found 68% of the 380 facilities that responded said they have implemented essential caregiver guidance so far.
Of those who have not implemented the guidance, most cited the potential COVID risk of an essential caregiver entering a facility; however MDH officials say there have been no cases at long-term care facilities tied to any essential caregivers thus far.
Ehresmann noted the state has seen rising numbers of COVID-19 cases among health care workers at long-term care facilities, which she said was likely a result of increasing community spread.
Meanwhile, a couple of metro clinics are offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or anyone who has been around someone with symptoms should be tested.
As the school year gets underway across the state, weekly school guidance data released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows increasing COVID-19 positivity rates in several Minnesota counties.
According to the data released Thursday, Waseca County now falls under the state's recommendation for full distance learning, after recording more than 50 coronavirus cases per 10,000 people in the latest data reporting period from Aug. 16 to 29. It's the first time in six weeks that any Minnesota county has risen to the highest level of recommended learning model restrictions.
Eight Minnesota counties now have case rates high enough to fall under the second-highest level of recommended guidance, for hybrid elementary learning and distance secondary learning, an increase of five counties over last week. Those counties include Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Lyon, Nobles, Sibley, Watonwan, Winona, and Yellow Medicine.
On the other end of the spectrum, 35 of Minnesota's counties have case rates low enough for the state to recommend full in-person learning.
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 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
In the metro area, Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Carver and Scott counties fall under recommendations for in-person instruction in elementary schools and hybrid instruction in secondary schools. Dakota, Washington, and Wright counties have case rates high enough for hybrid learning recommendations for all grade levels.
Fifteen Minnesotans died from COVID-19 in the last day, according to new numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
That single-day death toll is the highest since August 19, when MDH reported 17 fatalities from the virus. In total, 1,884 people in the state have died from coronavirus since the pandemic began.
MDH says an additional 389 people were diagnosed in the past 24-hour reporting period, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 82,249. The new cases are based on 7,903 tests processed in private and state labs.
At this time 257 people are being treated for COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals, with 138 of them requiring care in the ICU. State health officials say 75,425 people who once tested positive for the virus have improved to the point they no longer require isolation.
Those between the ages of 20 and 24 remain the largest group of Minnesota COVID-19 cases with 11,183 and a single death, followed by people 25 to 29 with 8,181 cases and three deaths. Minnesotans ages 15 to 19 have overtaken people 30 to 34 as the demographic with the third largest number of cases: MDH says 7,548 people in their mid-to-late teens have tested positive, but none have died.
Hennepin County has the most COVID-19 activity of any county in the state, with 24,389 cases and 896 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 9,805 cases and 305 fatalities. Dakota County has documented 6,629 cases and 120 deaths.
Cook County in far northeastern Minnesota has seen the fewest coronavirus cases with just 6.
Wednesday, Sept. 9
In a daily conference call with reporters, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Department of Public Safety (DPS), Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) and Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) provided an update on recent compliance checks at bars and restaurants across the state.
MDH said state officials visited more than 150 bars and restaurants in several Minnesota communities over the past two weekends, and found most are complying with COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Teams conducted compliance checks in Mankato, St. Peter, Waseca, Faribault, and New Ulm on Aug. 28 and 29, and in Carver and Scott counties Sept. 4 and 5.
A low number of tests processed has led to just 282 new cases of COVID-19, based on stats provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Wednesday.
Those new cases are based on just 5,373 tests reported by private and state labs in the last day, bringing the total of coronavirus cases in Minnesota 81,868 since the onset of the pandemic. Wednesdays testing numbers are the lowest volume since mid-June.
An MDH spokesperson tells KARE 11 testing volumes are always lower the days following a weekend, especially a holiday weekend. The spokesperson said MDH is always grateful for low positive case numbers, but emphasizes that one or two days does not make a trend.
Seven more Minnesotans have died from the virus, bringing fatalities to 1,869. Of those deaths 1,364, or 73% of them occurred in long-term or assisted living settings.
Currently 263 people are being treated in hospitals for coronavirus, with 137 cared for in the ICU. Overall 6,792 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since it came to the state.
MDH says 75,055 people who at one time tested positive for the virus have recovered to the point they no longer require isolation.
Cases involving those 20 to 24 have pushed past the 11,000 mark. That demographic, which includes college students, now accounts for 11,081 cases and a single death, followed by people 25 to 29 who comprise 8,153 and three deaths. Those ages 15 to 19 make up 7,498 cases, nearly surpassing the 30 to 34 demographic which has 7,502 cases.
People 85 to 89 accounts for the most deaths of any age group with 315, based on just 1,134 cases.
Hennepin County has the most COVID-19 activity with 24,433 cases and 895 deaths, followed by Ramsey County with 9,749 cases and 303 fatalities. Dakota County reports 6,568 cases and 115 deaths.
(This chart reflects Minnesota's positivity rate (confirmed cases out of tests performed) as of August 31, 2020)
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The state of Minnesota has set up a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.