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Minnesota has recorded more than 4,000 new student COVID cases over the most recent weekly reporting period.

The cumulative number of positive COVID infections among students at PreK-12 school hit 47,223 through Dec. 4. That's a 9.3% increase from the 43,197 student COVID cases noted in last week's report.

The number of student deaths due to COVID increased to three overall, up from the two reported in last week's report. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has announced two deaths among teens 15-19 recently, in Beltrami and Hennepin counties. 

Another 12 PreK-12 students have had to be hospitalized due to COVID (now 191, up from 179) with the number requiring intensive care jumping from 23 to 26.

Related: Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

Severe COVID cases among PreK-12 staff climbed slightly:

  • Staff hospitalized — 300 (Up from 282)
  • Staff in ICU — 58 (up from 57)
  • Staff deaths — 18 (same as the week prior)

A total of 342 schools in Minnesota have reported an outbreak of at least five COVID cases among students or staff since Nov. 14, according to MDH data.

Hoping to relieve stress, address burnout and help blunt the continued spread of COVID in school buildings, many districts have announced longer upcoming winter breaks. There is also concern over the omicron variant, particularly with regard to its transmissibility and how it might affect children who are not vaccinated or are not eligible to be vaccinated. 

Health experts say at this point, there isn't enough data to draw any conclusions about the omicron variant.

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