Minn. coronavirus cases top 700K; ICU cases dip to 197

Published 6:17 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has topped the 700,000 mark, according to data released Tuesday, while the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care at Minnesota hospitals fell below 200 for the first time in two weeks.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported 6,203 new cases to raise the state’s total to 706,158, though the numbers understate the full impact of the disease because they include only laboratory confirmed cases. The state also recorded 11 new deaths to raise the state’s cumulative toll to 8,109. Minnesota surpassed 8,000 deaths last Wednesday.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care fell to 196, the lowest since 190 on Sept. 12, with a total of 767 people hospitalized amid the surge in cases caused by the delta variant.

Minnesota health officials have been tracking a spike in COVID-19 cases in schools since students began returning several weeks ago. The hundreds of new cases a week have forced some districts to make changes, including switching to distance learning or imposing mask mandates.

Tensions escalated into a physical scuffle at a suburban Twin Cities school board meeting Monday night after the Eastern Carver County Schools announced that all students would need to wear a mask through at least the middle of next month.

Speakers lined up at the board meeting in Chaska to talk about their support or opposition to the mandate. A couple of men got physical over what appeared to be a disagreement about someone taking a photo. Several other men intervened to separate the two, and police were summoned, video from WCCO-TV showed.

Some parents said the mask mandate was causing bullying concerns on both sides of the issue. Many parents said they wanted some sort of protocol about what to do if their child was exposed, and if there would be a required quarantine period.