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Coronavirus Watch COVID Vaccines

Outbreaks of School-age Covid Cases in MN

In Star Tribune, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeremy Olson writes that there is out-break of Covid-19 in Minnesota schools (both elementary and high) where elementary school students are not yet eligible for vaccine.

MPR News writes “Officials have been anxious for weeks that the new school year would bring an increase in the number of cases among kids. More than two weeks in, that appears to be happening.”

According to Tribune, pre-K-12 students and staff related Covid cases increased to 859 as of week ending Sept 18.

Screenshot source: Star Tribune

According to Minnesota Health officials, two Minnesota school staff members have died from COVID-19 in the first weeks of the current school year, MPR News reports. “Currently, more than 770 school buildings are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 among students or staff.”

Masks and vaccine mandates policies in Minnesota are reportedly vary widely. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, ‘more than a quarter of the state’s 2,500 school buildings have requested testing supplies, and 180 districts and charter schools have applied for grants to cover testing costs’.

Jeremy Olson writes “While expected with the return of in-person classes, the outbreaks have increased pressure on school leaders — who are setting mask, quarantine and distance learning protocols on their own in the absence of an emergency order that empowered Gov. Tim Walz to enact statewide policies last school year.”

We know that vaccines are the best tool we have to slow the spread.

Doug Schultz, a state Health Department spokesman (source: Star Tribune)

According to Dr. Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard University “Test-to-stay isn’t just a theoretical idea. We can do this, today, and change the toll of this virus.”

Denise Specht, president of the teachers union, is quoted saying “For at least a little while longer, our schools need to embrace masking, social distancing, vaccinations and all the other tools in the toolbox to keep schools open during the current surge of the virus”.

Jeremy Olson reports that “health officials have encouraged continued COVID-19 vaccinations, especially in younger age groups with state data showing a first-dose rate of 53% in eligible people age 12 to 15, and 59% in eligible people age 16 to 17. Overall, more than 72% of Minnesota’s eligible population has received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of September 24, 9 a.m.) 470,630,875 doses have been distributed and 388,567,109 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of September 22) a total of 6,379,025 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of September 24) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 697,182 (out of 12,279,464 tested) with 8,076 deaths.