MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota added another 922 cases of COVID-19 to its tally of infections Monday and four more deaths, including that of a 9-month-old child who health officials say had no underlying health conditions.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) says that a fatality was reported in Clay County of a child between the ages of 0 and 5. In an afternoon update, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm confirmed the child’s age as 9 months old.
“The death of such a young person is tragic and certainly very unusual. As we understand it this is one of the youngest deaths reported in the country to date,” Malcolm said.
Health officials said the child had no underlying health conditions, but that the death “appears to be an isolated incident related to the infant’s very specific situation.” According to MDH, the child was not hospitalized.
The child’s death believed to be the first and only COVID-19-linked death of someone under 20 years in Minnesota — and one of the youngest cases in the United States.
The news is causing many parents understandable concerns, says Patsy Stinchfield, the head of infectious diseases at Children’s Minnesota.
“If you’ve got that gut feeling as a parent or a grandparent, call us,” Stinchfield said.
She says while the death of such a young child from COVID-19 is rare, she add it should be a somber reminder to all parents.
“It is adults who give the disease to children, so adults can wear that mask and prevent that infant from getting sick. A baby cannot wear a mask, so we’ve got to do our job to protect them,” Stinchfield said.
The state’s death toll is now at 1,545. According to graphs, COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota have plateaued, as daily fatalities have been in the single digits for almost all of July.
Since the start of the outbreak, 47,107 people in Minnesota have tested positive for the disease. More than 40,000 of those patients have recovered and no longer require isolation.
Currently, 247 patients are in Minnesota hospitals battling COVID-19 — down 11 in the last 24 hours.
Testings in Minnesota is holding steady, with upwards of 15,000 tests processed a day. According to Minnesota’s COVID-19 response dashboard, the 7-day rolling positivity rate earlier this month was at 5%. That number is likely higher now given Monday’s jump in new cases. Only two other days have had more new cases since the start of the outbreak.
If the positivity rate hits 15% or has daily increases of 5% over two weeks, then health officials in Minnesota would consider dialing back on the COVID-19 restrictions.
According to MDH, the numbers posted Monday for missing and unknown cases are higher than normal (669) due to a transition Sunday to updated data management systems for COVID-19 surveillance data.
“This updated system is better able to deal with the high volume of data we are collecting. During this transition we had limited capacity to complete investigations,” MDH officials said.
The data will be updated as case investigations continue.
Staring this week, more businesses in Minnesota are requiring that customers wear masks in stores. These businesses include Caribou Coffee, Kowalski’s markets and Wal-Mart.
Meanwhile, more cities are considering imposing face mask orders, and Gov. Tim Walz is mulling over whether or not to impose a statewide mask mandate.