School-aged children remain a major source of infections – Twin Cities

School-aged children continue to be a major source of coronavirus infections in Minnesota as the state’s fourth wave persists into its fifth month.

Children between the ages of 10 and 14 had a test positivity rate of more than 15% last week, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The state’s overall positivity rate for coronavirus testing was just under 11% during that time.

There are now more than 1,000 school buildings statewide that have reported outbreaks of five or more infections among students or staff in the past 28 days. A week ago, 800 buildings reported outbreaks to the state.

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 47,000 students have tested positive for COVID-19, 191 have been hospitalized and three have died. 300 school staff were also hospitalized with coronavirus infection and 18 died.

Although young people have the highest rate of positive tests, middle-aged Minnesotans now have the most new cases of coronavirus, on average, state data shows.

The state health ministry on Thursday reported 3,754 new coronavirus infections and 40 other deaths from COVID-19. The death toll is now 9,814, including 5,028 in long-term care.

Those whose deaths were reported Thursday were between 30 and 90 years old. Eleven were residing in long-term care homes and 29 in private homes.

There have been 952,232 coronavirus infections diagnosed since March 2020 and more than 11,100 people have been infected more than once. Of those who tested positive, 905,872, or 95%, recovered sufficiently that they no longer needed to be isolated.

The number of Minnesotans requiring hospital care for COVID-19 infections continues to break records for 2021. There have been 1,653 inpatients including 330 in intensive care.

Hospital capacity remains extremely limited, with around 80% of facilities in the state reporting no intensive care beds empty and 43% reporting no regular hospital beds vacant. Pediatric hospital beds are also scarce in much of the state.

Health officials say vaccines remain the best way to prevent serious infection and slow the spread of the coronavirus. But protective vaccines offer significant reductions after six months, and all adults are advised to be boosted.

About 20% of infections diagnosed in 2021 were breakthrough cases. Almost 4,300 of them were hospitalized and 737 died.

Minnesota administered 8.1 million doses of the vaccine, including 1.3 million boosters. About 3.6 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, or about 71% of the eligible population.

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