There has been a rapid increase in school buildings containing COVID-19 outbreaks since the academic year began and there are now 233 reporting outbreaks at the Minnesota Department of Health.
In early September, only six schools had reported five or more confirmed infections among students and staff in a two-week period. Students have been a major source of new cases over the past few weeks and school buildings with outbreaks have increased dramatically.
A week ago, 96 schools had confirmed the outbreak and this week the number more than doubled to 233 reporting cases. Health officials note that being on the list does not necessarily mean that transmission is going on at a school.
Buildings that do not report new cases for 28 days are removed from the state’s tally, but may be added again if new outbreaks occur.
Community transmission of the coronavirus is high enough in 86 of Minnesota’s 87 counties that masks are recommended in public settings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are statewide recommendations, but virus mitigation measures vary by school district.
Cases in long-term care facilities are also increasing, with 309 facilities reporting at least one case in a resident or employee. This is more than the 284 centers having infections a week ago.
Minnesota reported 2,874 new coronavirus infections on Thursday and 13 more deaths were recorded by the state health department. Rates of test-positivity, new cases and hospitalizations all remain higher than the precautionary thresholds that health officials use to determine whether the outbreak is under control.
789 patients, including 207 in critical condition, are hospitalized. People with an estimated 18,200 active cases are recovering at home.
Health officials say vaccination is the best way to avoid serious infections. The state has given 6.4 million doses of the vaccine and 3.4 million people have received at least one dose.
Roughly 72 percent of the vaccine-eligible population ages 12 and older have received at least one shot.
For more information about vaccines and testing, visit: mn.gov/covid19.