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The daily coronavirus update: 2 more deaths; caution urged as school starts

Outbreaks have already occurred on a number of Minnesota college campuses.

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 September 8:

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81,608 confirmed cases; 1,862 deaths

Two more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 1,862.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Tuesday, one was in their 70s and one was in their 40s. Neither of the people whose deaths were announced Tuesday were residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,862 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,361 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 Tuesday there have been 81,608 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 383 from Monday’s count and is based on 7,357 new tests. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

The most recent numbers on new cases per capita (which lag by a week) show Minnesota at 13 new cases per 100,000 residents, the highest the rate of new cases per capita since late May.

Since the start of the outbreak, 6,760 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 257 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 81,608 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 74,235 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

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State officials urge caution as school starts

The Tuesday after Labor Day is the day many of Minnesota’s K-12 and college students start school.

With outbreaks already happening on college campuses, state health and education officials on Tuesday warned that it is the job of everyone in school communities to ensure a successful start.

Parents, families and students were urged to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 by socially distancing, wearing masks, watching for potential symptoms and staying home if sick and when awaiting test results. Making sure students are up-t0-date on vaccinations, including getting the flu vaccine, is also critical.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann
Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann reiterated that if you’re exposed to COVID-19, you should not stop the recommended 14-day quarantine after the exposure even if you test negative for the virus in that timeframe. An infection can develop up to 14 days after exposure.

Virus activity is already high on college campuses and many schools have already seen outbreaks. On Tuesday, Winona State University announced a 14-day campus quarantine in order to slow the spread of cases.

Transmission is tending to occur outside of academic settings — generally in social ones.

“It’s really going to be up to the students as to whether or not we’re going to continue to see transmission,” Ehresmann said.

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Study links Sturgis to 250,000 coronavirus cases

A study that linked cell phone location data to coronavirus hotspots estimated 250,000 cases could have stemmed from Sturgis, making the motorcycle rally last month in South Dakota a superspreading event.

Others, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and the state’s epidemiologist have questioned the study’s findings, per the Argus Leader.

As of Tuesday, 51 Minnesotans who attended Sturgis have tested positive for COVID-19. Three have been hospitalized and one has died.

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MDH’s coronavirus website:

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