Minnesota's COVID-19 case rates are continuing to rise steadily despite ongoing vaccination efforts.
"We are seeing a fairly dramatic increase in cases these days, particularly in the last three weeks," Scott County Public Health Director Lisa Brodsky told the Scott County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, April 6.
Local data shows a "dramatic jump" in hospitalizations, she said. Thirty Scott County residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the past week and four died.
Brodsky said case growth is especially high among youth — around 86% of Scott County seniors have been vaccinated.
Scott County Board Chair Jon Ulrich said during Tuesday's meeting that two of his younger relatives were hospitalized with COVID-19 last week.
"It's still very much out there," he said.
The Minnesota Department of Health estimates at least half of Minnesota's current cases are related to the spread of variants.
In Scott County, 88 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and one case of the B.1.351 variant have been identified through surveillance efforts.
The B.1.351 case was identified among a traveler in February, Brodsky said. No additional local cases of the variant have been identified since.
However, health officials warn the variant data is based on only a sampling of positive specimens and doesn't represent the total number of variant cases circulating in the community.
Statewide, case rates have risen steadily for the past 25 days, Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday.
Minnesota's average test positivity rate is also rising. On April 6, the seven-day average test positivity rate stood at 6% after growing one percentage point in one week.
"We all need to pull together to reverse that trend," Malcolm said.
In mid-February, Minnesota's test positivity rate had neared all-time lows after dropping below 3%. Around the same time, there were less than 50 Minnesotans being treated in the intensive care unit for COVID-19 and roughly 200 hospitalized in total.
As of April 6, the state health department reports 497 Minnesotans are in the hospital being treated for COVID-19 with 114 in the intensive care unit.
COVID-19 related hospital bed usage is up by 40% in the last 10 days, Malcolm said Tuesday.
The local 14-day case rate per 10,000 residents continues to rise in southwest metro counties, with growth picking up speed in the beginning of March.
Distance learning for all students is recommended with 14-day case rates higher than 50 cases per 10,000 residents, according to MDH's guidelines.
Jan. 24-Feb. 2
Jan. 31-Feb. 13:
Feb. 21- March 6:
Feb. 29-March 13:
March 7-20 (Data published April 1 due to reporting lag period)
Brown, Carver, Cottonwood, Fairbault, Morrison, Pope, Steele, Traverse and Wilkin counties all reported a case rate higher than 50 in the latest weekly data published April 1.
In the prior reporting period, only three counties landed above this threshold.
The Minnesota Department of Health lists school buildings that have reported five or more confirmed cases in students or staff who were in the building while infectious during a two-week reporting period. The list is published each Thursday.
On April 1, five schools in Scott County and nine schools in Carver County were listed as follows:
Eight schools are listed in Dakota County, but none are within the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District. A total of 159 schools are listed statewide.
In March, the Shakopee Public Schools reported 114 newly confirmed cases among students — that's up from 67 confirmed student cases in February.
Last month's student caseload represents more than a quarter of the cumulative cases counted since September among both district students and staff.
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools reports 154 students currently in quarantine as of April 1 after 11 cases were confirmed among students during the prior week.
To curb variant spread, MDH is recommending all school-age youth and their families be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks through the end of the school year. Youth involved in any extracurricular actives or sports should be tested weekly, guidance states.
Over 42% of Minnesotans age 16 and over have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, MDH reported Wednesday.
Roughly 1.22 million eligible Minnesotans, or 28%, have completed the vaccination series.
In Scott County, over 42,000 residents, or roughly 39%, have received at least one vaccine dose and roughly 23%, have completed the two-dose series.
In Carver County, roughly 41% of residents have at least one dose and roughly 25% have completed the series.