Skip to main content

MDH claims it's seeing increase in COVID cases traced to bars, restaurants, sports

The increases were expected with some restrictions being lifted.

It's been nearly a month since Minnesota's COVID-19 mitigation measures allowed bars and restaurants to reopen at a limited indoor capacity, along with youth sports getting back into action with mandatory masks for all participants. 

And according to the Minnesota Department of Health, there is once again an increasing number of COVID-19 cases that are being traced to bars, restaurants and youth sports since some of the restrictions were lifted in early January. 

Kris Ehresmann, director of MDH's infectious disease branch, said it takes time to identified and trace cases, but there is already data to show that some bars and restaurants with their second COVID-19 outbreaks since the pandemic began. 

"The same is true with youth sports," said Ehresmann. 

Increases in cases linked to those establishments and activities is expected with the loosening of restrictions, and Ehresmann did not say how many cases the state has seen since the mitigation measures were relaxed. 

Asked during the Monday press call if the state is considering lifting the mask mandate for high-intensity sports like hockey and basketball, Ehresmann said that discussion is not happening at this point. 

"Hockey is one of the sports that has had the most documented data about transmission associated with it, so that is info that is always something that we are thinking about as we make recommendations," she said. 

"The perspective is that [masks] is intended to reduce the opportunity for transmission, so that is something that we're anticipating will be necessary in order to keep moving forward with youth sports that everyone is excited about."

Restrictions were loosened for bars, restaurants, places of entertainment and youth sports in early January as cases and hospitalizations subsided following a November surge. Case levels continue to lower in Minnesota, though there are concerns that the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant (United Kingdom), and possibly the P.1 variant (Brazil) will lead to a spike in the coming weeks and months. 

Both variants have been confirmed in Minnesota. 

"We want to make sure that we're keeping the backdrop that we have had a number of COVID variants of concern that have been identified in Minnesota," said Ehresmann. 

"The sheer fact that they could impact how effective the vaccine is and many other things means that although our case numbers are down, that doesn't mean that we're feeling comfortable ... and we can open everything up."

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm was a guest on Meet the Press on Sunday and he reiterated what he said in his podcast that he's confident the U.S. will have a major surge of the B.1.1.7 variant in the next 6-14 weeks. 

Weather with Sven

Next Up

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.


Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.



39 restaurants, bars linked to COVID-19 outbreaks so far this year

The number of outbreaks is far fewer than at the peak in November when there were 237 reported outbreaks in restaurants/bars.

social distancing, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz readying 'more surgical' mitigation strategies as COVID-19 surges

It's unclear if bars and restaurants will face further restrictions.

coronavirus, Iowa

Increasing clusters of COVID-19 traced to workplaces, social settings

As of Monday, 1,063 of the state's 2,158 ICU beds were occupied.


58 bars, restaurants added to list of those linked to COVID-19 outbreaks

The Minnesota Department of Health has recorded 117 bars and restaurants tied to coronavirus outbreaks.

Minnesota to shut down all dine-in service at restaurants, bars

It's the latest attempt by Minnesota to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Bar beer

MDH to ramp up enforcement of bars violating COVID-19 protocols

The state received over a hundred complaints about violations this week.

coronavirus, covid-19

Will Minnesota's four-week shutdown be extended?

Some are preparing for an extended shutdown period.