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The daily coronavirus update: 3 more deaths; college campuses continue to see high number of cases

Of 200 colleges and universities in Minnesota, 65 have had at least one case but a small number have had multiple cases.

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 14:

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84,949 confirmed cases; 1,922 deaths

Three more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Monday, for a total of 1,922.

Of the people whose deaths were announced Monday, one was in their 70s, one was in their 60s and one was in their 50s. None of the three deaths announced Monday were among residents of long-term care facilities. Of the 1,922 COVID-19 deaths reported in Minnesota, 1,398 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 84,949 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 638 from Sunday’s count and is based on 17,152 new tests. The seven-day test positivity average is 4.9 percent — down from 5.6 percent a week prior. While that decline represents a step in the right direction, health officials still said a test positivity rate near 5 percent is relatively high, and reminded Minnesotans that the state has seen relatively high COVID-19 activity for a sustained period of time. You can find the seven-day positive case average here.

Since the start of the outbreak, 6,954 Minnesotans have been hospitalized and 233 are currently in the hospital, 135 in intensive care. The number of people in intensive care has remained stable for many weeks. You can find more information about Minnesota’s current ICU usage and capacity here.

Of the 84,949 confirmed positive cases in Minnesota, 78,238 are believed to have recovered.

More information on cases can be found here.

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College case update

Some Minnesota colleges and universities continue to see high numbers of coronavirus cases less than a week after classes began at many schools.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann emphasized Monday that just because cases are appearing in campus populations doesn’t necessarily mean people are becoming infected on campus: evidence suggests many students are becoming infected at off-campus social activities.

Ehresmann said three colleges and universities —  Minnesota State University Mankato, Winona State University and Concordia College in Moorhead — have had more than 100 cases in the last two weeks.

Cases at Mankato are showing signs of slowing down, while it’s too early to tell whether increased restrictions on the Winona and Concordia campuses have had an effect on cases.

Of 200 colleges and universities in Minnesota, 65 have had at least one case, but only a small number have had multiple cases, Ehresmann said.

She said MDH anticipated seeing cases as students returned to classes, but had hoped not to see the large caseloads some schools are having.

Staying home when sick important for keeping schools open

On Monday, MDH reiterated the importance of staying home when sick in keeping schools open, and emphasized tools available to assess when a person should stay home.

Among these tools is a “COVID-19 decision tree” designed to help families, youth programs, child care and school personnel make decisions about when to stay home.

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For example, what do you do if a child has a fever? The sniffles? When should you get a test? How long should a child stay home? The decision tree designed to help families make decisions can be found here. Also available: A school attendance guide and a home-screening tool.

Health officials said while keeping kids home can present challenges for families, there’s evidence that it works in slowing the spread of the virus.

Today on MinnPost

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Around the web

  • On a theory that face masks could be lessening the viral load many people are exposed to, making a higher percentage of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19, from the Telegraph.
  • From the department of bad ideas: Some Iowa schools are having kids walk around every 12-15 minutes in order to skirt the “within 6 feet for 15 minutes” exposure rule, reports Iowa Starting Line.
  • A Centers for Disease Control report out Friday found children ages 10 and over transmitted COVID-19 to their household contacts.

MDH’s coronavirus website:

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