There have been far fewer COVID-19 outbreaks tied to restaurants and bars so far this year compared to when cases peaked last fall.
That's according to the Minnesota Department of Health's most recent Restaurant and Social Outbreak Summary, which was updated on Friday, Feb. 19.
According to the data, there have been 39 outbreaks among customers in restaurants and bars in 2021 (three in January and 36 in February).
Data show restaurant/bar outbreaks peaked in November, with 237 restaurant/bar outbreaks among patrons, which coincided with the state experiencing a surge in COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations, prompting Gov. Tim Walz to sign an executive order to prohibit in-person, indoor dining until Jan. 11.
Since then, there has been a significant drop in COVID cases, with restaurants and bars allowed to reopen for indoor dining at 50 percent capacity from Jan. 11 onwards.
In December 2020, there were 118 COVID outbreaks among patrons. Here's a look at outbreaks by week since late June 2020:
A more detailed breakdown of outbreaks in restaurants/bars by month this year and in 2020:
Since Nov. 13, 2020 (see the line in the graph above), MDH has only reported an outbreak at a restaurant/bar if said outbreak involves five people from different households who only visited one establishment in the past month. Previously, MDH reported outbreaks when it involved seven or more patrons.
The outbreaks at restaurants/bars reported so far this year have occurred throughout the state, including nine in Hennepin County, five in Olmsted County, five in Dakota County, four in Stearns County, four in Anoka County, three in Ramsey County, two in Washington County, two in Brown County, and one each in Pennington, Mower, Scott and Blue Earth counties.
Other social settings
In other social settings so far this year, MDH reports there have been 85 outbreaks involving sports and 23 involving fitness clubs and gyms.
Here's a table that breaks down the number of outbreaks connected to other social events:
On Tuesday, Feb. 23, MDH reported 500 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death, bringing the total number of cases to 480,091 and deaths to 6,434.
Meanwhile, through Feb. 21, 762,089 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.