Skip to main content

Clusters of U.K. COVID variant found in Carver County, MDH reports

The department says it's been linked back to youth sports, with cases also found at local gyms.

State health officials reported Friday evening that there is a "rapidly growing outbreak" of the B117 U.K. COVID-19 variant in the southwest Twin Cities.

The Minnesota Department of Health says there has been a 62% increase in COVID cases in Carver County between Feb. 24 and Mar. 4, and the U.K. variant – which scientists have determined is more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain – is playing a role in that rise.

Furthermore, MDH says that it has traced "at least" 68 cases of COVID-19 that have been linked to participants in "both school-sponsored and club sports activities, including hockey, wrestling, basketball, alpine skiing and other sports."

It has subsequently seen a rise in cases in Carver County gyms and fitness centers, which contact tracers have linked back to the sports-related cases.

MDH says it's recommending a "county-wide pause" in youth sports for two weeks starting Monday as a result, as well as "active screening, weekly testing of athletes and coaches, no gatherings before/after games."

The department is also recommending Carver County Schools consider pausing extracurricular activities where "full distancing can't be maintained," and local gyms strictly enforce mask rules, pause group classes, and actively screen employees for COVID symptoms.

Genome sequencing on some of the samples given by those infected in the outbreak have confirmed 24 cases of the B117 variant since Jan. 28, the biggest cluster of the variant found so far, while a further 18 people with COVID have been linked to people with the B117 variant and are currently awaiting sequencing results to determine if they too have the variant.

The variant has been found in "athletes, coaches, students and household contacts," MDH says, and "multiple schools, both public and private, have confirmed cases tied to the variant strain cases."

The department says many of those with the B117 variant went to school or attended sports activities while infectious, prompting a call from MDH for youth athletes and parents to "double down" on measures to prevent the virus' spread.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The shutdown of youth sports was lifted in January amid declining cases, but players are still required to wear masks despite efforts to repeal this requirement from the activist group Let Them Play MN.

"We are making progress in the effort to end this pandemic, but we need all Minnesotans to keep up their guard until the work is done,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

"The variants circulating now present added risk that we may see another surge in cases and we need everyone to do their part to prevent that from happening. That means masking, social distancing, staying home when sick and getting tested when appropriate."

Next Up


Two youths seriously injured after being struck by driver in Bloomington

Police say the boy is in a critical condition, while the girl has severe injuries.

Rosedale Center

Two men sentenced for carjacking in Rosedale Center parking lot

Leon Kismit Bell, 49, and Jack Mitchell Piche, 23, were sentenced in U.S. District Court on Jan. 20.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 3.59.30 PM

Police identify White Bear Lake officer shot while serving warrant

The officer is a six-year veteran of the department.

abortion, planned parenthood

Minnesota Senate passes bill codifying abortion into state law

Having already passed in the House, it will now be sent to Gov. Tim Walz for signing into law.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.



Some Carver Co. schools, businesses reduce activities amid outbreak of COVID variant

The Minnesota Department of Health announced a 'rapidly growing' outbreak on Friday.

covid-19, coronavirus

MDH says Carver County COVID outbreak threatens state's progress

State health officials are concerned about the cluster in the southwest metro.

covid saliva test

MDH to open new COVID testing site in Carver Co. amid B117 variant outbreak

It comes amid an outbreak among younger people in the southwest metro county.

covid, coronavirus

Outbreaks of COVID variant now in four Minnesota counties

Temporary testing centers have been launched in the areas.

coronavirus, covid-19

First case of South African COVID-19 variant found in Minnesota

Minnesota has already seen cases of the Brazilian and U.K. variants.


COVID-19: First cases of U.K. variant confirmed in Minnesota

Five cases have been confirmed in the Twin Cities.