Teens are Fueling COVID Cases in MN

Day 357: Stay Safe Minnesota

Teenagers are fueling a slight uptick in COVID-19 activity in Minnesota, which on Tuesday reported an increase in the positivity rate of diagnostic testing to 3.9%.

In the Star Tribune, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeremy Olson writes that there has been recent uptick in new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, mostly fueled by the young teenagers. according to Minnesota Depart of Health (MDH) reporting, 10% of the near 7000 reported cases last week involved teenagers 15 to 19 years old due to increased transmission with the return to in-person classes and youth sports activities.

“While severe COVID-19 is rare among children and young adults, state health officials remain concerned about their ability to spread the infectious disease to others at greater risk,” writes Olson.

Basic prevention measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing are still needed to slow viral transmission even as schools reopen and bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are allowed to host larger groups. We just need to keep attending to those basic prevention steps that we know are so critical for helping to control spread of the virus as we continue to make progress on vaccinations.

Jan Malcolm, State Health Commissioner (source: Star Tribune)

Its reported that the recent increased in COVID-19 cases in teen is attruted to more aggressive testing in schools as well as the identification of asymptomatic cases. “Following the reopening of many schools to in-person learning, the MDH recommended that K-12 students seek testing once every two weeks and that young athletes seek testing weekly and three days before any competitions,” Olson reports.

Minnesota assistant health commissioner, Dan Huff said:

“If we’re going to stay ahead of this, all young people across the state should be getting tested. It’s how we avoid more pauses in sports and how we keep our kids in the classroom.”

Olson writes that state health officials are concerned about the recent outbreak in Carver County youth sports activities centers which appeared to have occurred at schools, fitness clubs, child care centers and other locations.

In the journal Science, Angela L. Rasmussen, Saskia V. Popescu write that SARS-COV-2 (or COVID-19) “has a potentially long incubation period and spreads opportunistically among those who are unaware they are infected”.

“Contagious people without observable signs of illness make infection prevention efforts vulnerable to compliance with masking, distancing, hand hygiene, symptom screening, and ultimately, people staying home when possible. The lack of widespread testing in asymptomatic individuals further complicates COVID-19 mitigation and control efforts.”

COVID-19 Vaccination Watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Mar 19, 9 a.m.) 154,199,235 doses have been distributed and 118,313,818 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Mar 17) a total of 2,082,088 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Mar 19) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 502,893 (out of 7,887,332 tested) with 6,771 deaths.