Minnesota’s confirmed COVID-19 case count jumped by more than 2,500 over the weekend, as the state’s death toll from the pandemic surpassed 2,000.
State health officials on Sunday reported the third straight day with more than 1,000 new cases — the first time that's happened in Minnesota during the ongoing pandemic. Saturday’s report saw a record 1,478 newly confirmed cases.
The high number of cases has come as testing also remains at a high level — with Sunday marking the third consecutive day with more than 26,000 results reported, also a first for the pandemic in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported 10 more COVID-19 deaths on Saturday and four on Sunday, bringing the overall death toll to 2,008.
The number of Minnesotans newly admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment dropped slightly in Sunday’s report, but the number of new COVID-19 admissions to ICUs continued to climb. The number of active confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state climbed to 8,474 — another record for Minnesota.
Rising case counts and other data paint a picture indicating the pandemic is far from over, a point public health authorities have been hammering at for weeks as they implore Minnesotans to wear masks in indoor public spaces, socially distance, wash their hands and generally stay out of crowds to curb the disease’s community spread.
Spread is being driven largely now by weddings, funerals and informal get-togethers among friends and families who are not staying vigilant against the disease, Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, said Friday.
While daily death counts have eased since the spring, “the virus is still dangerous,” she said. “COVID did not magically go away or get to be a better virus over the last few months.”
Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:
2,008 deaths (four new)
96,734 confirmed cases (1,077 new); 86,252 off isolation
1,981,100 tests, 1,384,512 people tested
Worries rise around college students, kids
People in their 20s make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — surpassing 22,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 13,100 infections among people ages 20-24.
The numbers help explain why experts remain particularly concerned about young adults as spreaders of the virus.
While less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease and end up hospitalized, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to grandparents and other vulnerable populations and that spread could hamper attempts to reopen campuses completely to in-person teaching.
The number of high school-age children confirmed with the disease has also grown, with more than 9,000 total cases among children ages 15 to 19 since the pandemic began.
With many schools in Minnesota attempting to teach in-person, officials say they are especially concerned about the rising numbers of teens becoming infected and how that could affect decisions to keep school buildings open.
“We’re very concerned about what we’re seeing in the data. Educators have worked very hard to create a safe working plan, but the plan only works if we’re working together,” Ehresmann said Wednesday, adding that “it won’t be too much longer until many schools have difficult decisions to make.”