(St. Paul, MN) – COVID-19 case rates, the data that helps school officials determine the learning delivery method during the pandemic, have been updated.

This week’s report from the Minnesota Department of Health covers most of the second half of September, from Sept 13 to Sept 26.  Case rates are determined by the number of cases per 10,000 residents.

Here are MDH’s recommended policy options based on a 14-day case rate range:

  • 0-9 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for all students
  • 10-19 cases per 10,000 residents: In-person learning for elementary students; hybrid learning for secondary students
  • 20-29 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for all students
  • 30-49 cases per 10,000 residents: Hybrid learning for elementary students; distance learning for secondary students
  • 50+ cases per 10,000 residents: Distance learning for all students

This week, nine counties in the state have case rates of 50 or more, including Martin (91.66), Redwood (58.05), and Waseca (162.16).

Waseca County’s case rate remains the highest in Minnesota, and jumped from 92.51 last week to 162.16 this week.  The Waseca School District switched to distance learning for students in 7th – 12th grades in mid-September. A free testing event was held last week at the Waseca County Fairgrounds, where over 600 tests were administered.

The number of counties with case rates between 30 and 49 is up five from last week, for a total 17.  Blue Earth County is in that range, with a case rate of 35.73, up from 26.99 last week.  Watonwan County’s case rate remained mostly unchanged, at 46.48 this week, compared to 47.39 last week.  Other counties in this case rate range include Jackson (41.80), Lyon (46.83), and Renville (35.32).

Brown County is one of 30 in the state with a case rate between 20 and 29.  Brown County’s case rate is 21.42 this week, setting schools up for potential hybrid learning for all students. Freeborn County is also in this case range, with a case rate of 27.52, down from 31.12 last week.  McLeod (46.83), Mower (24.75), and Sibley (27.49) counties also sit in this range.

There are 26 counties with case rates of 10 to 19.  Cottonwood County falls in that category, with a case rate of 14.95, compared to 14.07 last week.  Included are Faribault (13.67), Fillmore, (17.71), Le Sueur (15.37), Nicollet (19.54), Rice (12.47), and Steele (16.90) counties.

Only five counties in the state have case rates that fall below ten.  Those counties are Pennington, Cook, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, and Marshall.

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