COVID-19 infection rates are rising almost everywhere in Minnesota, with the weekly report issued Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Health showing two-week infection rate increases in 75 of 87 counties.
The infection rates per 10,000 residents are specifically designed to help school districts make an informed decision about teaching models, be it in-person instruction, distance learning or a hybrid of the two – and it's based on the number of cases per 10,000 residents over a 14-day period.
- 0-9 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for all students
- 10-19 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students
- 20-29 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for all students
- 30-49 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for elementary students; distance learning for secondary students
- 50+ cases per 10,000 residents: Distance learning for all students
Based on the learning model parameters, only five counties are currently below the threshold (0-9 cases per 10,000 residents) for in-person learning for all students, as of the latest two-week reporting period (Sept. 13-26). That's down from 11 counties below the threshold in the last report, and 24 counties in the period ending Sept. 12.
The number of counties in the second tier (10-19 cases per 10,000 residents) dropped from 44 in last week's report to 27 in this week's report. That means there are more counties in the 20-29 threshold (30, up from 16), the 30-49 threshold (17, up from 12), and the 50+ threshold (9, up from 4).
Here are the counties with 50-plus cases per 10,000 residents, which leads to the recommendation of distance learning for all students in all grade levels.
- Big Stone (51.83 cases per 10,000 residents)
- Lac qui Parle (59.06)
- Lincoln (56.07)
- Martin (91.66)
- Pine (56.64)
- Redwood (58.05)
- Swift (52.07)
- Waseca (162.16)
- Yellow Medicine (67.90)
Here are the counties with 30-49 cases per 10,000 residents, which leads to guidance for hybrid learning for elementary students and distance learning for middle and high school students.
- Blue Earth (35.73)
- Chippewa (49.13)
- Clay (46.66)
- Dodge (38.87)
- Douglas (39.51)
- Hubbard (31.16)
- Jackson (41.80)
- Kandiyohi (38.21)
- Lyon (46.83)
- Morrison (31.26)
- Murray (37.11)
- Nobles (32.05)
- Pipestone (43.55)
- Renville (35.32)
- Rock (47.81)
- Stearns (34.75)
- Watonwan (46.48)
"Any increase in case incidence can represent a greater risk, but schools may consider a 14-day case rate of 10 or more cases per 10,000 to be an elevated risk of disease transmission within the local community, especially when the level of cases per week is sustained or increasing over time," the Minnesota Department of Health said.