Cases of COVID-19 among Minnesota school students are surging again, mirroring the continued rise of the virus statewide.
The latest weekly report from the Minnesota Department of Health shows that there were an additional 2,667 cases among preK-12 students reported for the week ending November 6.
This is a significant increase on the 1,922 new cases reported the week before, which came in the wake of a brief lull in cases seen across Minnesota in mid-October, which ultimately proved to be a false dawn regarding the delta variant's peak in the state.
As well as the 2,667 new cases, the latest weekly report shows that an additional 14 school students have been hospitalized with COVID-19, likely the largest increase among students seen in a single week considering there have been 151 students hospitalized with the virus in total since August 1, 2020.
The latest data also show that one student has been hospitalized in intensive care.
It also confirms that another school staff member has died from COVID-19, the 16th school employee to die from the virus since August 1, 2020, and the eighth to die since school resumed for in-person learning in September.
It comes as Minnesota continues to experience rising cases and positivity rates caused by the extremely contagious delta variant.
On Wednesday, state health officials said a number of factors are contributing to the spread of the virus, including the number of people who are still unvaccinated, the waning effectiveness of the vaccine at preventing infection among the earliest to get their shots, a relaxation of mitigation measures, and the colder weather keeping more people indoors.
It's hoped that the rollout of COVID vaccines to those aged 5-11 will help reduce case levels in schools and across the state.
The Minnesota Department of Health publishes figures on which schools have reported outbreaks of COVID-19, and while there is a lag on reporting data which means the more recent data won't be comprehensive for a few weeks, there are numerous schools that have reported 5-9 or 10-19 cases in the past 10 days.
These include 10-19 cases reported at Voyageurs Expeditionary School in Bemidji, St. Hubert Catholic School in Chanhassen, and Lincoln Secondary in Lake City.
Among the schools that have reported the most cases in the past two months are New Prague Middle School and New Prague Senior High, which have posted at least five cases in each of the last four two-week periods between Sept. 19 and today.
The largest COVID-19 outbreak reported by a school district this year (since Sept. 5) was a six-week burst at Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School.
According to the data, the middle school located at 901 1st Street South in Sauk Rapids reported 20-29 infections Sept. 5-18, followed by 60-69 more infections Sept. 19-Oct. 2.
The school then reported a further 10-19 cases Oct. 3-16 for a total range (specifics are not provided by the state) of 90-117 cases.
In the past three-and-a-half weeks cases have dropped however, with the school reporting 10-19 in the two weeks Oct. 17-30 and so far none for the weeks Oct. 31-Nov. 13.
You can find the data in full right here. Once you get to the link, click "Cases in Pre-K through Grade 12 School Buildings, by County" to see the full list.