COVID-19 in MN: School-age cases rising; 2 school staff deaths reported

Children sit behind plastic barriers at desks spaced apart in a classroom.
In September 2020, paraprofessional Jaevon Walton, center, reminds a student to wear his face mask in a learning pod of second through seventh graders at Harvest Best Academy in Minneapolis.
David Joles | Star Tribune via AP 2020

3 things to know:

  • 2,434 newly confirmed or probable cases, 24 newly reported deaths

  • 17,697 known, active cases; 777 currently hospitalized

  • 73.1 percent of 16-and-older residents with at least one vaccine dose

Updated 12:19 p.m.

Minnesota’s summer COVID-19 surge continues to push its way into fall, with case counts rising notably among school-age children.

Officials have been anxious for weeks that the new school year would bring an increase in the number of cases among kids. More than two weeks in, that appears to be happening.

The Health Department on Thursday said two Minnesota school staff members have died from COVID-19 in the first weeks of the current school year. No other information was disclosed. The state has recorded 10 deaths in the pandemic associated with school settings.

Currently, more than 770 school buildings are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 among students or staff.

While the overall COVID data remains frustrating, the rate of tests coming back positive remains relatively stable — the seven-day average is running at around 6 percent, higher than the 5 percent officials find concerning but not leaping as it has in other waves.

Still, the case numbers — driven since late summer by the highly contagious delta variant — continue to rise. The state’s Native American population has been especially hard hit recently.

New COVID-19 cases per capita by race

Thursday’s daily count of known, active cases came in at more than 17,000, down slightly from earlier in the week but still hovering at levels not seen since April. Those counts are averaging more than 12,000 over the past reporting week as the disease demonstrates its resilience.

Active, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

The state's death toll stands at 8,049, including 24 newly reported deaths. That's the highest one-day total since February.

New COVID-19 related deaths reported in Minnesota each day

Current hospital and intensive care needs have risen during this summer-fall wave — 777 people are in hospital beds currently with COVID-19, including 214 ICU cases.

Those counts have ticked down in recent days, although they’re still higher than in the April surge.

Graph of new ICU and non-ICU COVID-19 hospitalizations

Minnesota remains better positioned now than during its fall and spring spikes. Seventy-two percent of state residents age 12 and older have received at least one vaccination shot, and more than two-thirds of that population are completely vaccinated.

Graph showing total COVID-19 vaccinations by age

It remains a slow march, though, to get more Minnesotans vaccinated, and wide gaps remain in the vaccination rates among regions and counties.

Map of Minnesota COVID-19 eligible vaccination rate

MPR News reporters Elizabeth Shockman and David Montgomery contributed to this report.

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