The Potluck

COVID-19 cases among K-12 students down slightly

By: - October 14, 2021 4:43 pm

Paul Habans Charter School hands out supplies including food, books and computers to students and the community as Louisiana schools close due to the spread of coronavirus. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

Nearly 1,400 K-12 students tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending Oct. 2, a decline from previous weeks, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday.

Cases linked to K-12 buildings climbed steeply throughout the first month of school but leveled off in early October. More than 2,000 students and 300 staff members tested positive in both weeks ending Sept. 18 and Sept. 25. Minnesota’s total student enrollment is roughly 862,000.

During the week ending Oct. 9, 991 buildings reported at least one case of COVID-19, or nearly 40% of Minnesota school buildings. Of those, 115 had at least five cases. That’s down from 159 the week before. There are roughly 2,500 school buildings in Minnesota. 

Children could be eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 as soon as early November. Pfizer and BioNTech asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve emergency use of the vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, and a ruling could come between Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Minnesota reported 2,919 new COVID-19 cases among all age groups Thursday, and 25 deaths. Despite the encouraging trendline in schools, a spike in hospitalizations is straining health care systems. Nearly 1,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday, 255 of them in intensive care units.

About 73% of the state’s population over 12 — 3.4 million people — has at least one dose of vaccine, and 69% are fully vaccinated.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.