Local COVID-19 transmission continues at high rates in Scott and Dakota counties, according to the latest state data.
Minnesota Department of Health officials on Thursday spoke about the ongoing threat of the Delta variant and urged mitigation measures for students returning to school this week.
In Scott County, 27% of recently confirmed positive cases were identified in school-aged children, according to Bernie Bien, the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District’s lead school nurse.
The seven-day average case rate per 100,000 residents increased in both Scott and Dakota counties over the last two weeks, Bien told the school board Thursday.
Scott County's recent case rate sits around 10% higher than Dakota County's, according to state health data cited by Bien. Scott County's positivity rate is also above the current statewide average.
On Thursday, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said data collected over the past week showed Minnesota averaging just over 1,860 newly confirmed cases each day.
Of all the positive specimens that've undergone gnome sequencing since mid-July, around 99% in Minnesota were determined to be the Delta variant, according to Malcolm.
State data also indicates the percentage of COVID-infected children requiring hospitalization has nearly doubled compared to this time last year.
Kris Ehresmann, MDH's director of infectious disease epidemiology, said 0.7% of cases in children last fall required hospitalization compared to a current hospitalization rate of approximately 1.3%.
Ehresmann said they're encouraged to see a relatively low rate of hospitalizations among children, but health officials remained concerned about the rate doubling.
As of Wednesday, there were a total of 663 Minnesotans hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment and 178 patients in the intensive care unit, according to MDH.