Updated: 11:20 a.m.
Minnesota health officials reported 934 more confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, pushing the state’s total past 75,000 since the pandemic began.
The daily total was down from the previous day, but still among the highest single-day totals on record in the state. The number of new cases reported each day has been trending upward in the past couple weeks after falling earlier in the month.
The highest single-day increase was on Thursday, when the Minnesota Department of Health reported 1,158 new cases. That day’s report was skewed by the addition of results from a backlog at one Twin Cities testing lab.
But state health officials said Saturday’s 1,032 confirmed cases did not include any of those backlogged results. It was not immediately clear whether any of the backlog was reflected in Sunday’s report.
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The upward trend has created heightened concern among health officials as students head back to schools, colleges and universities across the state. The percentage of positive tests also has been ticking upward in recent days.
Meanwhile the state reported two more deaths on Sunday, one involving a resident of a long-term care facility. The number of Minnesotans hospitalized with COVID-19 climbed slightly, as did the number of those patients being treated in ICUs.
Here are the latest coronavirus statistics in Minnesota:
75,189 cases confirmed (934 new) via 1,478,432 tests (18,051 new)
1,816 deaths (two new)
6,454 cases requiring hospitalization
315 currently hospitalized; 136 in intensive care
66,916 patients no longer needing isolation
The latest numbers come as students and teachers around the state are preparing to return to school — and as districts are determining whether that will happen in person, online or by a combination of those approaches. A district’s approach is, in part, guided by the COVID-19 data in its surrounding region.
State Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said everyone should help limit community transmission of the virus to make on-site learning more possible for students.
"Our priority right now is ensuring that kids can safely attend school, and as many in person as safely possible, and so we want to make sure that what's happening in the community is at a place to allow for as much in-person education as can safely happen," she said.
Due to increasing case numbers, several districts have shifted away from initial plans for in-person learning — and others are considering it.
Developments around the state
Osseo school district pushes back start of in-person learning
The Osseo, Minn., school district on Friday became the latest to delay the start of in-person learning. The district’s school board voted 4-to-1 in favor of delaying the start of a hybrid learning option until Sept. 28.
The decision was controversial. Earlier this week, the board voted down a plan the superintendent recommended to delay hybrid learning until mid-October, although they did approve a one-week delay to start of the academic year for all students.
Superintendent Cory McIntyre said the extra two weeks of distance learning was needed to hire and train staff as well as monitor COVID-19 case counts in the district’s counties and cities. He also warned that the district may need to change their plans again, depending on case rate data.
Many Minnesota school administrators have said that a hybrid model of learning is the most difficult to implement.
— Elizabeth Shockman | MPR News
U of M Crookston imposing COVID-19 curfew
The University of Minnesota Crookston has imposed a 9 p.m. on-campus curfew in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause said the curfew is designed to keep students away from bars or large off-campus gatherings.
School officials will reevaluate the curfew on Sept. 8, based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the area, and local health care capacity.
"Decisions are very much made based upon what's happening locally, because we know it can change from one community to another,” she said. “And those will be the factors that will help guide that decision as we go forward."
Holz-Clause says exceptions will be made for students with off-campus jobs.
— Dan Gunderson | MPR News
Local health departments push back on CDC asymptomatic testing reversal
Local health departments in the U.S. are pushing for reversal of a recent change to coronavirus testing guidance, saying it is undermining their work to stop outbreaks.
The National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Big Cities Health Coalition, which together represent about 3,000 local health departments, released the letter Friday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly posted the change Monday. The CDC previously had advised local health departments to test people who have been within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. But the new guidance said those people did “not necessarily need a test” unless they were more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Public health experts have blasted the new guidance, saying testing contacts of infected people is key to keep outbreaks in check, and many infected people don’t show symptoms.
Under the guidance, doctors or public health officials could still recommend a test. “Testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients,” CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said in statement.
Local health officials said federal authorities didn’t offer any scientific evidence for the change, which effectively shifted more responsibility to municipalities.
— Associated Press
As one family navigates COVID-19, they ask whether it’s safe to disagree during a pandemic: For months, members of the sprawling Hochstetler family disagreed on how seriously to take the coronavirus pandemic. But when four family members — and two close friends — got sick, they had to grapple with a challenging question: Whether it’s safe to agree to disagree in a pandemic.
Minnesota looks for additional $300 in weekly jobless aid: Gov. Tim Walz said his administration has applied for access to a federal program that would tack $300 per week more on unemployment checks for people whose lost wages are directly attributable to the pandemic. That’s half of what had been available until late July, when a different add-on expired.
Reporting backlog from Twin Cities lab leads to unprecedented Minn. COVID-19 case counts: The Minnesota Health Department says the Valley Medical and Wellness lab has a track record of not reporting new coronavirus cases to the state, which has meant hundreds of new cases haven’t been investigated quickly.
COVID-19 in Minnesota
Data in these graphs are based off Minnesota Department of Health cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.