Infant dies of COVID-19, 900 new cases in Minn. | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children

Minnesota has reported its first COVID-19 death in a child amid a continued rise in cases of the infectious disease among children and young adults.

No details were released about the death — one of four reported Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health — other than it involved a 9-month-old infant from Clay County. Of the 1,545 COVID-19 deaths so far in the pandemic in Minnesota, two have involved people in the 20 to 29 age range. But none until now had involved anyone 19 or younger.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by infection with a novel coronavirus. Risk increases with age or underlying health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. People 70 or older only make up 10% of the state’s known COVID-19 cases, but 81% of the deaths.

Even so, health officials have warned that COVID-19 can pose risks to younger people, including breathing and other health complications. Last week, state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said there had been children hospitalized for COVID-19.

“We’ve seen children hospitalized and we’ve seen some children in intensive care,” she said.

The state also has reported at least 13 cases of multisystem inflammatory system in children, a condition that affects multiple organs and appears tied to earlier infections with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The COVID-19 case count in Minnesota reached 47,107, including the addition of 922 cases reported on Monday. That is the highest single-day total reported in Minnesota since the start of the pandemic, though state health officials said they have yet to vet about two-thirds of those reported test results due to a switch this weekend to a new data management system. Ehresmann said the majority are actual COVID-19 cases, but that the final number could change later this week.

Daily case numbers fluctuate anyway — with only 464 reported on Saturday — but the overall trend has been upward.

Minnesota is reporting an from 6 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people per day on June 16 to 9 new cases per 100,000 as of July 9 — that’s a 50% jump. More recent data suggests that the state rate now exceeds 10 new cases per day per 100,000 people — enough to land Minnesota on New York’s list of states with travel restrictions.

Minnesota’s target goal is no more than 5 cases per 100,000. It is one of five measurements the state uses to assess the adequacy of its response to the pandemic — and whether restrictions can be lifted on businesses and how schools can resume in the fall.

Cases among children and young adults have fueled the increase in cases in the state over the past month. Total cases in Minnesota have increased 87% since June 1, but 144% among people 29 and younger in that same period. State health officials are concerned that cases among this lower-risk population could eventually spread to people at greater risks of complications or deaths due to their ages or underlying health status.

Hospitalizations have increased in Minnesota over the past week — with 247 people admitted for COVID-19 on Monday and 115 of them needing intensive care. That is well below the peak of 606 hospitalizations in the state during the first COVID-19 wave on May 29, but above the low of 227 reported on July 10.

Gov. Tim Walz and state officials are still deliberating on a mask-wearing mandate to slow the spread of the virus. Twenty-eight states have taken this action in response to the pandemic, which has caused a surge in cases and hospitalizations in many Southern and Western states this month.

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