State health officials on Monday reported 638 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, bringing the total number of cases above 81,000 since the pandemic began.
Daily deaths remained in the single digits, with three additional deaths reported Monday, and hospitalizations dipped, while new cases continued to grow. The number of people needing intensive care also remained fairly stable at 136 Monday.
Here are Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 statistics:
1,860 deaths (three new)
81,225 positive cases (638 new); 73,403 off isolation
275 currently hospitalized; 136 in ICU
1,609,618 tests; 1,197,675 people tested
With newly confirmed cases rising steeply the past few weeks and college students and kids returning to school, state health officials are particularly concerned about young adults.
People in their 20s make up the age bracket with the state’s largest number of confirmed cases — nearly 19,000 since the pandemic began, including nearly 11,000 among people ages 20-24.
They are driving the current outbreaks, although the number of high school-age children confirmed with the disease has also grown recently, topping 7,000 total cases for children 15 to 19 years old since the pandemic began.
While less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease, experts worry youth and young adults will spread it to grandparents and other vulnerable populations and that such outbreaks could cripple attempts to reopen campuses completely to in-person teaching.
Officials said last week that they believe too many Minnesotans have numbed to the need to stay vigilant in the pandemic, opening the door to more spread that can’t easily be traced. They worried that informal Labor Day holiday gatherings of family and friends could accelerate the trend.
About one-third of new cases in Minnesota are now coming from community spread of unknown origin — higher than just before the Fourth of July, the last major holiday that brought Minnesotans together.
Minnesota currently has more than 6,000 active, confirmed cases, a record in the outbreak, although the number — confirmed and unconfirmed — was likely higher in May when testing was much lower.
Cases surge ‘all over the state’
Health authorities noted a spike in Winona County they attribute to college-age people returning to schools there. Winona State University and St. Mary's University are based in Winona. The city also has a Minnesota State College Southeast campus.
Cases are rising most quickly now in west-central Minnesota, including Stevens County, which has seen its cases double in the last nine days from 38 to 78.
While southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities suburbs continue to drive new case confirmations, central and northern Minnesota are also on the rise.
State health authorities have said backyard parties, get-togethers to start the new school year and other casual meetups are fueling the current case counts.
Minnesotans’ behavior in stores, restaurants and other public places isn’t so much the problem now, but “informal gatherings have really proven to be a weak spot in our response to the pandemic,” Malcolm said last week. “The virus is all over the state. The outbreaks are happening all over the state … and we just want people to be vigilant.”