A surge in COVID-19 cases in Edina, particularly among teenagers, prompted an appeal from Mayor Jim Hovland on Monday for people to take greater precautions such as wearing masks in public.
The city reported 227 cases from March 12 to June 24, but then 154 just since June 25, the mayor said. The median age of COVID-19 cases was 57 years in the first time frame but only 20 years in the second.
“We need our young people to be more careful about what they’re doing,” he said in a video, “and we’ve been finding out how they’ve been spreading it. Contact tracing by public health officials shows that our young people have been exposed to the novel coronavirus at house parties, bonfires, cabin trips, and organized sports. Simply put, its just from socializing.”
The trend in Edina somewhat mirrors what is happening statewide, according to the latest COVID-19 data released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health. The state on Tuesday reported another three deaths due to the infectious disease, which is caused by exposure to a novel coronavirus, and 569 more lab-confirmed cases. That brings the state’s totals in the pandemic to 1,477 deaths and 39,133 cases.
Cases among people age 6 to 19 have now more than doubled in Minnesota since June 1 — from 1,752 to 3,598. Cases among people in their 20s have surged as well, reaching 8,665 as of Tuesday. The median age of COVID-19 cases has now dropped from 41.5 years at the beginning of June to 38.4 years, said Jan Malcolm, state health commissioner.
“Really quite a notable drop in a month’s time,” she said.
St. Louis County reported its highest single-day COVID-19 case count on Tuesday — with 15 cases, including nine involving people under the age of 30, confirmed through diagnostic testing. The county has reported 195 COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths total in the pandemic.
“It’s not a complete surprise to see this increase in cases as more and more activities are allowed to resume, and people are interacting with others more and more,” said Linnea Mirsch, director of the county’s public health and human services department.
Deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota remain most common among people 70 and older and among residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities. Among all COVID-19 deaths, 1,157 involved residents of these facilities. Only two deaths in the pandemic have involved people 29 or younger.
Health officials are concerned that the spread of COVID-19 among young people could in turn result in renewed infections among adults who are at higher risks due to their age or underlying health conditions. Deaths have been more common among people with conditions such as diabetes, asthma and diseases of the lungs, heart, kidneys and immune system.
The City of Edina is one of the few in Minnesota to post its own local COVID-19 data in addition to the state health reports. Minneapolis and Bloomington are among those posting local data as well.
So far in Edina, the city has reported 35 COVID-19 deaths and 393 cases, including 98 cases involving people 19 and younger. Edina is unusual in that children and teenagers make up its largest age block of COVID-19 cases. Bloomington’s website reports 782 cases in that city — with case counts being highest in the 20 to 29 age group and the 30 to 39 age group.
Edina imposed a mask requirement as of Monday for indoor retail and public spaces, with some exemptions, and city leaders will discuss on Wednesday whether to extend that requirement.