Minnesota cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in areas prone to outbreaks such as schools and long-term care facilities.
The Minnesota Department of Health reports 498 school buildings that have reported five or more infections in the past two weeks, up from 406 buildings with outbreaks a week earlier. In the past two weeks, 915 schools have reported cases to the state, but most have reported fewer than five infections.
Schools are removed from the state’s outbreak list if they have not had a new case within 28 days.
Likewise, there are currently 365 long-term care facilities for patients with infections, up from 338 a week earlier. State officials identify long-term care facilities with 10 or more residents if one or more residents or employees test positive.
These facilities can also be delisted by the state if they have been infection-free for 28 days.
Minnesota continues to see high rates of population transmission of the coronavirus, driven by the more contagious delta variant. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus is spreading so high that high-level face masks are publicly recommended in all 87 counties in Minnesota.
On Thursday, the state health department reported 25 more deaths from COVID-19 and 2,919 new infections. The death toll is currently 8,379 and 752,060 infections have been diagnosed since March 2020, when the pandemic began.
Those who died on Thursday were between 50 and 90 years old. Four lived in long-term care facilities and 21 in private homes.
Health officials say the best way to avoid a serious infection is to get vaccinated. Of the 3.2 million fully vaccinated Minnesota residents, more than 98 percent did not experience any infectious disease.
Hospital capacity continues to be a concern due to the shortage of empty beds across the state. 983 patients were hospitalized, 255 of them are in critical condition.
Minnesota has administered 6.6 million doses of the vaccine and 3.4 million residents have received at least one dose. About 73 percent of eligible residents aged 12 and over have had at least one vaccination.