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The daily coronavirus update: Two Minnesota school districts delay opening; number of Sturgis-linked cases grows

The Minnesota Department of Health also announced Monday that four more Minnesotans had died of COVID-19, bringing the total for the whole pandemic to 1,771.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from August 24:

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70,298 confirmed cases; 1,771 deaths

Four more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 1,771.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Monday, two were in their 90s, one was in their 80s and one was in their 30s. The person in their 30s had a known underlying health condition. Three of the four deaths announced Monday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,771 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,313 have been among residents of long-term care.

The current death toll only includes Minnesotans with lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 tests.

MDH also said Monday there have been 70,298 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 714 from Sunday’s count and is based on 12,296 new tests. Case numbers have been stable for several days. The seven-day positivity average, which lags by a week, is 4.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percent from the week prior. You can find the seven-day positive case average over time here.

Since the start of the outbreak, 6,195 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 310 are currently in the hospital, 135 in intensive care. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 70,298 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 63,059 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

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School start delayed in Minneota and Ivanhoe due to COVID-19 case

Schools in Minneota and Ivanhoe were scheduled to start classes on Monday, but made quick decisions Sunday to delay until September 1 due to identifying a case of COVID-19 in their school communities.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcom said the choice these districts faced is a good reminder that other districts may have to change plans last-minute, planning for one learning model and needing to turn on a dime to another, amid the pandemic.

She said it also underscores the importance of practicing social distancing, wearing masks and laying low for two weeks before school begins to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school communities that can affect modes of teaching and learning.

Twenty-seven Sturgis cases

The number of COVID-19 cases identified among Minnestoaans who attended the Sturgis motorcycle rally is now up to 27.

Of the 27 cases, 25 were among attendees and two were among volunteers or employees. Twenty-four households are affected. The Sturgis attendee who was hospitalized as of Friday due to COVID-19 has been released.

Health officials said Friday they expect many more cases from Sturgis.

Asked how the number of cases among Sturgis-goers compares to cases among protests following the murder of George Floyd, MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said that of 13,418 tests among protesters, 243 were positive — a positivity rate of 1.8 percent.

There isn’t currently a  coordinated effort to test Sturgis attendees, so it’s difficult to make a fair comparison between the two groups.

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NFL false positives believed to be isolated incident

Seventy-seven false positive COVID-19 tests related to NFL training camp — including 12 among Minnesota Vikings players and staff — are believed to be an isolated incident, MDH said Monday.

The false positives were caused by contamination in the lab that processed the tests.

MDH said that while no test is perfect, the false positive issue is not widespread. If the department receives news that tests recorded in Minnesota were false positives, it is simple to correct the data, Ehresmaann said.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

Hotline, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.: 651-201-3920