Minnesota reported nearly 2,500 more confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21 more deaths over the weekend, with Sunday marking the fourth consecutive day with an increase of more than 1,000 cases.
The seven-day average of new deaths has been climbing — four of the past five days’ reports from the state Health Department have included double-digit death tolls, the first time that’s happened since June.
But the recent elevated numbers of newly confirmed cases have been largely driven by high testing volumes, and key metrics such as hospitalizations and the positivity rate have improved in recent days.
The number of active COVID-19 cases in Minnesota on Sunday dropped from Saturday’s record high, but remains higher than a week ago.
Here are Minnesota’s current COVID-19 statistics:
2,080 deaths (seven new)
103,826 positive cases (1,048 new); 93,148 off isolation
2,146,411 tests, 1,480,219 people tested
In light of President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, state officials on Friday also warned that people who attended the president’s Minnesota events last week may be infectious without knowing it.
They noted that community spread in St. Louis County, where Trump spoke to a Duluth rally, was high before the president’s visit.
They urged anyone with a connection to the president’s visit to get tested “right away” if they have symptoms and consider it even without symptoms, adding that anyone who was in direct contact with Trump or known COVID-19 cases needs to quarantine.
Worries continue around college students, kids
People in their 20s make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — nearly 24,000 since the pandemic began, including more than 13,900 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 9,700 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.
The Health Department on Friday identified seven school buildings in Minnesota with five or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in students or staff who were in those buildings while infectious during a two-week reporting period.
The schools are: Brainerd High School, Albert Lea High School, Isanti Middle School; Fairmont Junior/Senior High School, Martin Luther High School and St. Paul Lutheran School in Martin County; and Hinckley Elementary School.
The fact that only seven schools have five or more such cases is “very positive,” Ehresmann told reporters Friday. “We’re not seeing large outbreaks at all associated with a school setting.”
Ehresmann said that the agency had reports of 2,805 COVID-19 cases in the pandemic associated with colleges and universities with nine people needing to be in the hospital and three needing intensive care.
The numbers for colleges or K-12 schools don’t necessarily mean that the disease spread happened in school buildings, only that people were infectious while in a school building, she added.
Surges seen in southern, central Minnesota
Regionally, southern and central Minnesota have driven much of the recent increase in new cases while Hennepin and Ramsey counties show some of the slowest case growth in the state. Northern Minnesota is also on the upswing.
In southwestern Minnesota, at least 75 cases have been traced to a late-August wedding in Lyon County that officials have previously described as the state’s largest single social spreader event.
Thirty-nine cases have now been traced to a Martin County funeral, with one person hospitalized.
Southeastern Minnesota, specifically Winona, has been another hot spot as students return to college at Winona State and other schools. The problem has been compounded by similar outbreaks nearby across the Mississippi River at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.