Skip to main content

MDH's new COVID guidance urges weekly testing for those involved in sports

It has also re-iterated its guidance that
  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Minnesota Department of Health is urging all Minnesotans involved in sports to get tested weekly for COVID-19 to limit the spread of the virus.

MDH has released updated guidance Thursday that doesn't just apply to those involved in youth sports, but all sports across the state.

"Reflecting ongoing concerns about the potential of sports and other group activities to contribute to COVID-19 transmission, the state is now urging athletes, coaches, referees, volunteers and other participants to get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis," it says.

It continues to "strongly encourage" students not taking part in sports or other group activities to still get tested every two weeks.

It has also updated its guidance however so that participants in outdoor sports do not need to wear a face mask while they're on the field or court, but must put their mask back on whenever they're off it – and masks must still be worn for indoor sports.

Youth sports have been linked to numerous COVID-19 outbreaks in recent months, while the return of in-person classes at the majority of Minnesota schools since the beginning of March has been followed by another spike in COVID cases statewide.

"Much of the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks has been seen in younger Minnesotans, particularly among middle and high school," MDH said.

Keeping cases low in schools – where the majority of students are not yet eligible to be vaccinated – is seen as a priority in limiting the virus' impact elsewhere, with the Minnesota Department of Education on Thursday urging the state's middle and high schools to make COVID-19 testing available in their buildings.

The Department of Health. will be providing free saliva testing kits to any middle school, high school, or organized sports team in the state.

"In addition to testing, it is critical that Minnesotans remain vigilant about the other tried-and-true protective measures of masking up, social distancing, and staying home when sick," the joint statement from MDH and MDE says.

Around 60% of the COVID cases in Minnesota are believed to be the more contagious B.1.1.7 U.K. variant, which can also present more severe symptoms.

Hospitalizations have risen recently, while the average age of hospitalized patients has been trending younger: 59 years old statewide compared to 69 during the November and December surge.

HealthPartners said on Thursday that the rise in recent COVID hospitalizations at its site has been driven by middle-aged, unvaccinated adults.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

But Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm believes much of the virus' spread is coming from younger generations.

“The last month plus has been very worrisome – especially among younger Minnesotans,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. 

"Just this week we saw the number of school-related COVID-19 cases in students exceed the high set in November during the fall surge. We are making encouraging progress with vaccinations, but there are still many Minnesotans who are susceptible and we need to do what we can to slow the spread.

"In addition to vaccinations, COVID-19 testing is an important complementary tool to limit the damage of this disease. By testing and catching cases before they spread, we give schools and students the best chance for in-person learning, full sports seasons, and other activities that are so important."

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.

FLickr - crime scene tape do not crozz

Charges: MN teen shot mom after dispute over meth

The girl's mother said there had been a dispute over methamphetamine.

bad roads, blizzard

No travel advised: High winds, whiteout conditions in NW MN

Zero visibility in parts of greater Minnesota Tuesday night.

holy angels high school j nelson

Update: Holy Angels evacuated over bomb threat, school says

Someone left a voicemail early Tuesday suggesting there was an explosive device.

radio station, microphone

Convicted stalker charged with harassment of another DJ at The Current

He pleaded guilty to similar charges involving the DJ's colleague back in 2015.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

10 new shops, food stops at Mall of America

Donuts, K-fashion, model cars — the new tenants cover a lot of bases.

Gophers basketball

Gophers fall below roster minimum, postpone Penn State game

It is "due to internal COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Gopher program."

Raheem Morris

Report: Vikings request interview with Rams' Raheem Morris

Morris was once the youngest head coach in the NFL at 33 years old.

train crossing S Boardman Ave, New York Mills, Minnesota - August 2013 crop GSV

Sheriff: Drunk driver crashed trying to 'beat the train'

The BNSF train slammed into the side of the driver's car.


Man run over after parking dispute leads to road rage crash

The two groups fought about parking prior to the crash.

hwy 41 engler boulevard crash crop

Deadly crash shuts down small stretch of Chaska highway for hours

A driver crossed over the center median and hit another vehicle.

covid test 6

You can now order 4 free at-home COVID tests from the government

Tests will ship for free within 7-12 days, according to the White House.


Vaccine COVID

MDH expands COVID guidance, urges providers to vaccinate the 65+

More vaccine guidance will be provided in the coming days.

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.

N95 mask

'Rapidly growing' outbreak of U.K. COVID variant found in Carver County

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


MDH: Nearly 1,500 COVID-19 cases linked to sports since June

The sport linked to the most confirmed or likely outbreaks is basketball.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

MDH announces 6 latest locations for free COVID-19 testing

The testing sites will be operational next week.

covid, coronavirus

MDH: New COVID strain likely broadly circulating in Minnesota

Health officials believe the new strain is broadly circulating in Minnesota.